This site will post communications directed to the Roane Community Advisory Group (CAG) as they are received in order to keep the community affected by the TVA ash dike failure fully informed.

General information regarding the CAG and relevant public documents are posted at the CAG website.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Arrests at Kingston TVA Plant

To Members of the Roane County CAG:

1. Today, at approximately 3:45 p.m., three people, a man and two women, were arrested on the TVA Kingston Plant site. TVA Police found the three offenders in and on top of ash-loaded rail cars located on tracks adjacent to the middle road entrance to plant. They were taken to the Roane County jail for processing and charges. An investigation of the rail cars is underway to ensure nothing was compromised. Additionally, Norfolk Southern was about to move the train to couple the cars when the arrest occurred, resulting in a serious safety issue.

2. Yesterday, while clearing between I-40 and Highway 70, the crew identified a tree that must be removed. Because of the position of the tree, there is a good possibility that it will be damaged or uprooted when installing the Kingston Water line. The problem is that it is so tall that it could either fall into the east bound lane of I-40 or it could knock down other trees that would fall into the east-bound lane of I-40.

After looking at the tree with Mayse Construction and the Tennessee Department of Transportation, it was determined that the tree has to be removed. Mayse is contacting a tree service to remove the tree in place from the top down. Their contact is a company that TDOT has used for similar conditions. All permits to do the work have been obtained and the tree removal will take place either tomorrow or Friday.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions.

Katie Bell Kline

Senior Manager, Community Relations

Tennessee Valley Authority


  1. Here is video of the arrest event which contradicts the above report by Katie Kline of TVA.

    Matt Landon Press Contact 865 689 2778

  2. Videos of TVA police harassment

    And this is only a SMALL portion of all the video footage of harassment by the TVA police.

  3. Press Release: January 21, 2010

    United Mountain Defense

    Bonnie Swinford

    (865) 689-2778

    Journalists and Environmental Activist Arrested by TVA Police

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn., January 21 – On Wednesday, January 20, 2010, United Mountain Defense (UMD) volunteer Matt Landon Jones and two journalists who were reporting on the current clean-up efforts of last year's Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) coal ash disaster where arrested by TVA police. Last year, a man-made earthen dam containing 50 years of contaminated coal ash erupted, forcing over 1 billion gallons of toxic ash into tributaries of the Tennessee River and devastated the surrounding community. Marking the event anniversary, the reporters were planning to report on the lives of the residents still living in the area as well as the communities receiving train loads of the toxic waste each week from the disaster site. Noticing the train cars filled with coal ash heading to Perry County, Alabama – a poor, predominately African American community where TVA is currently shipping large amounts of the coal ash for storage in a landfill. The journalists stopped to take photographs, at which point they were approached by TVA police. The TVA police detained all three individuals, confiscated their camera and searched their vehicle. The police officer was going to release the individual after writing up citations. The officer was nearly done writing up the citations when he received a phone call. Upon hanging up the phone, the officer told the three individuals that “things had changed.” Instead of issuing warning citations, the officer then arrested and charged all three individuals with criminal trespassing in what can only be described as a gross overreaction. Just prior to the arrest, Jones called fellow UMD volunteer Bonnie Swinford who heard Jones asking the officer if he was being arrested, to which the officer answered "yes". When Jones then asked the officer what he was being arrested for, the officer replied, "I'll get back to you," and took the cell phone away. All three were handcuffed and held on $2,000 bails.


  4. "These arrests are part of a pattern of harassment of UMD volunteers by TVA," said Jones. "TVA has tried to prevent United Mountain Defense from conducting independent water testing, deploying air monitoring, and working with the community of Roane County and they have consistently harassed me while doing this work." In 2009, Jones helped a partially blind Roane County resident get home from a community meeting. Even though the resident explained to TVA police that Jones was simply driving her home, he was arrested, held in jail for 36 hours, and prevented from traveling near the disaster site for seven months before all charges were finally dropped. Other UMD volunteers, journalist, and scientist have experienced continued harassment from TVA officials as well.

    TVA's Community Relations Senior Manager Katie Bell Kline was quick to report the incident online to the Roane County Community Advisory Board, erroneously claiming that "TVA Police found the three offenders in and on top of ash-loaded rail cars located on tracks adjacent to the middle road entrance to plant." Only one individual was anywhere near the train. The other two were in the car, as clearly indicated in both the TVA officer's report and in video footage recorded by Jones before his camera was roughly confiscated.

    The pattern of harassment that concerned citizens and members of the media have experienced from TVA is unacceptable and has gone on for far too long.

    For more information, please contact Bonnie Swinford or Matt Landon Jonesat 865 689-2778 or by email at