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Appalshop reports on Harriman

Harriman, TN Sludge Spill

by Mark Kidd
A Tennessee Valley Authority sludge holding pond in Harriman, Tennessee failed on December 22, flooding hundreds of acres with the liquid form of fly ash, a byproduct of burning coal. Fly ash contains heavy metals and other toxins, and residents of Harriman and downstream communities are now faced with the physical devastation of their land and water, as well as the fear that their air and water has been contaminated. Appalshop has issued this response.

Appalshop will be streaming two films relevant to this crisis: Sludge and The Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man, which you can find at that link.

This spill is the latest chapter in a story that Appalshop has been sharing for 40 years as we have witnessed our region’s complex and changing relationship with coal – a focal point for understanding Appalachia’s history and thinking about its future. Since our founding in 1969, Appalshop’s mission has been to tell stories that aren’t told by cultural industries and to support communities’ efforts to achieve justice and equity.

This is an important moment for our region and our nation to share these stories, and to help ensure that the national dialogue around Appalachia’s environment and economy represents the social, cultural, and economic diversity of the Appalachian region.