I hope that yall are well. Things are going good here. Just enjoying a little bit of American freedom. So I went to court in Kingston, TN this morning at 9 AM. It was an interesting experience. I met my public defender and learned that TVA had presented a motion to revoke my bond because I had asked a CTEH employee to help set up parallel air monitoring sometime in the future and that I had also set up an air monitor with a land owner's express permission on their property that had been purchased by TVA. This land owner was not allowed by TVA order to tell me that the property had been sold and so I had no way of knowing that it had been bought by TVA. After my court case today a TVA police officer informed UMD volunteers Tom and Bonnie Swinford that they were not allowed to visit this resident or do air monitoring on the property because TVA owned the property and the TVA police could decide who was allowed to enter the property. This resident is staying on this property for a few more months and had a pre- existing contract with UMD to do air monitoring and photograph the disaster site. This resident is very concerned about the quality of air coming from the disaster site near the property.
I was threatened with up to one year in jail for my work with the air monitoring program. Truthfully I love yall but it sorta freaked me out today to hear that I may spend a year in jail because I put up an air monitor.
TVA is very scared about the samples that we are taking with this air monitoring equipment and they are willing to threaten me and other UMD volunteers to keep this valuable field work from being done. We need your help. UMD volunteers have listened to your concerns about air and water quality, we have done the sampling, and we have been threatened with jail time because of our scientific monitoring.
So after speaking with my public defender and letting them know that I would not plead guilty to any of the charges the prosecutor came back with a deal. They would drop one of the charges and just give me a fine for two of them with a guilty plea. No deal!!!! I called for a pre-trial hearing. The prosecutor began to squirm and made some phone calls to the TVA so they could rally the arresting officers and the CTEH employee. Just before the pre-trial hearing began the prosecutor came back with another deal. All of the charges would be dismissed!!!! Sounds a bit better, but what is the catch.
Well for the next six months I cannot travel on the Clinch or Emory River from Interstate 40 to mile marker 4 on the Emory River. I cannot enter the 750 foot elevation (100 year flood plain) near these two rivers. I cannot interact with any TVA employees or any other company workers employed by TVA to work on the Coal Ash Disaster. The $3,000 bond will be held for the next six months until a follow up trial date of Sept 21, 2009 at which time I will have to pay court costs of nearly $600. If at any time I break any of these clauses I will be pulled back into court and all bets are off probably meaning jail time.
So what does this all mean? Well the future of your community's water and air monitoring program now rests with you, the community members. I can provide the training and skills but have now had a MAJOR dent put into the amount of access that I have to the disaster site and the area surrounding TVA's Kingston Steam Plant. If you want this air monitoring project to continue then I would please ask you to step up to the plate, get the training, and set up an air monitor on you or your neighbor's land.
Here is how you can help:
1) document your health issues/ go to the doctor or hospital, take the MSDS sheets
2) come to a Tennessee Coal Ash Survivors Meeting Tues 6PM rotating locations
3) get training to gather air/ water/ coal ash samples
4) give water monitoring people a boat ride on the river during the dredging to gather samples
5) contact UMD if you would like to have an air monitor set up on your property
6) contact your elected officials and ask for independent air monitoring
7) contact TDEC and CTEH and ask for parallel sampling with UMD's air monitors
TDEC- Air Resources
Tracy Carter Senior Director 615- 532- 0127
Air Pollution 615- 532- 0554
Call 1-888-891-TDEC (8332)
Phone (501) 801-8500
Alright yall, please let’s find a way to work together and gather the much needed independent data that you have asked for. As much as I want to help your community I am not willing to spend a year in jail for the cause. You as community members have the power to install these monitors and the power to gather this information. Please feel empowered to do so.
Thank you, matt landon volunteer staff for UMD and dedicated volunteer for Roane County
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