Two environmental activists were detained by the Tennessee Valley Authority police for photographing the site of last weeks ash spill. While it does not appear that they will be charged with crimes, they were unable to document the ash spill’s effects on the area and its water supply.
The men, who are from the Knoxville based United Mountain Defense, say that TVA has yet to release the water toxicity results. They say they have the right to take their own measurements and photographs unless TVA shows their results. “This is an issue of national importance,” said David Cooper. “People need to know if the water is safe or not.”
The environmental disaster, which covered 400 acres in ash, has demonstrated the fragility of supposed ecological safeguards. It begs the question of whether or not we can trust the same people who created the problem to give us accurate information about the disaster’s clean up and aftermath. The activists said that they will take their water samples and run the required tests.
While the men were let go and forced to leave the premises after an hour of detainment, in some ways our collective rights were infringed upon. If we cannot simply gather data without being harassed by police, then what actions can we freely and safely take?
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jerry Greer