Monday, January 19th, community organizers in Knoxville, Nashville, and Chattanooga, Tenn., are holding a public demonstration against TVA. All three protests will begin simultaneously at noon.
The Chattanooga demonstration will begin at noon outside the TVA offices on 1101 Market Street. The Knoxville noon protest will be held in Market Square, outside TVA\’s corporate headquarters. The Nashville protest will take place as part of the city\’s historic MLK-Day parade.
Protestors are critical of TVA\’s three disasters in three weeks across the Tennessee River watershed. \”Three disasters in three weeks isn\’t an isolated incident. This is system-failure,\” Knoxville organizer Chris Martin said. \”[TVA is] the largest purchaser of coal in North America, and one of the largest state providers of carbon-based energy on the globe,\” Martin said. \”If they don\’t start to budge on coal, clean energy is going nowhere.\”
TVA currently maintains 18 coal plants and over 50 industrial waste sites in the Tennessee watershed region, the network of waterways surrounding the Tennessee River. The Emory River in Roane County, the Ocoee River in Polk County, and Widows Creek in Jackson County, Ala., have all met with disaster in recent weeks.
Environmental justice and stewardship groups argue that the contamination includes hazardous materials, with independent water-testing to back up their claims. Local governments and medical authorities have begun organizing evacuations of contaminated neighborhoods near Harriman, in East Tennessee. Federal agencies continue to deny any risk of toxics.
\”We chose to include this in the state capitol\’s MLK parade so people will never let this happen again,\” said Nashville organizer Anna Graves. \”This is our water, our air that we\’re talking about here.\”
\”We\’re here to dramatize the destruction of our community,\” Katuah Earth First! organizer Amanda Cagle said in Chattanooga. \”They\’re destroying our mountains, our streams, our neighborhoods. Coal kills, from the cradle to the grave.\”