As Treehugger, my favorite renewable energy and environmental blog broke this story which some may have missed, here is a reprise based upon their follow-up on this story: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/12/tennessee-coal-ash-sludge-lawsuit-news.php
A dyke holding coal ash broke in tennessee two days ago leaking 2.6 million cubic yards of coal ash sludge and destroying 400 acres of farmland, 12 homes and a train and leading to lawsuits worth $ 165 million against the Tennessee Valley Authority. Leave the lawsuits aside - I think the landowners deserve every penny of what they are asking for - the filth that has escaped into the open contains mercury, selenium and arsenic, though, in its infinite wisdom, the EPA does not consider it hazardous.
Now, my qiestion, especially because Coal India Ltd has gone overboard buying coal mines in Pennsylvania, Utah and Wyoming, is this: do you want a similar disaster in India? In a country where the average farm is 15 acres in size and provides barely more than subsistence to the farmer? Just imagine if this happened in the rich agricultural town of Neyveli which already has several thermal power plants and is planning to build several more. Would be great for the already poor food supplies, wouldn't it? India imports wheat these days. How about importing rice as well once the fields get destroyed in Northern Tamil Nadu from an environmental disaster of this kind?
Stupidity will never cease. I guess that is why Mirza Ghalib wrote (referring to India, his beloved country and to Delhi, his dear city) in the 19th century: "Iss duniya mein bewakoofon ki kami nahin hai Ghalib / Ek dhoondho to dus hazaar milte hain." Roughtly translated into English, this means, "There is no shortage of fools in the world. If you go looking for one, you are certain to find ten thousand instead."