TVA backlash grows as coal ash spill workers fall sick

KINGSTON, Tenn. (AP) — A backlash is growing from the Tennessee Valley Authority’s handling of the nation’s largest coal ash spill a decade ago. Workers said they were prohibited from wearing dust masks while cleaning up the ash and now suffer from cancers and lung diseases.

The TVA contractor Jacobs Engineering denied their claims, saying the cleanup posed no health hazard. A Knoxville jury sided with the workers, deciding last year that Jacobs had breached its duty to keep them safe. But to get any money, the workers still have to prove their exposure to the coal ash made them sick.

The public utility maintains that its contractor alone was responsible for any issues, but it’s the reputation of the TVA that’s at stake.

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