Here's a reality check the next time someone wants to tell you about clean coal: They're still cleaning up the biggest fly ash spill in U.S. history that occurred in December 2008, which occurred at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston Fossil Plant. A dam holding back tons of slurry burst in the middle of the night, dumping more than a billion gallons of coal ash slurry into Tennessee River tributaries. The sludge leveled entire communities with a four-foot-deep layer of coal ash slurry and killed off an unbelievable number of fish living in the rivers. The spill has been said to be one hundred times as large as the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989.
Natural disasters are gendered, with women facing aid discrepancies at every step of the recovery process. Particularly in areas that are already impoverished, there are simply fewer opportunities to rebuild after a disaster. If women are already largely shut out of the more lucrative jobs, this continues the cycle of poverty. Women are often the ones overburdened with domestic responsibilities and largely responsible for caring for children and the elderly, which is also exacerbated by catastrophe. Often overlooked are reports of sexual violence following a disaster, but much like rape and sexual torture are weapons of war, they are also employed in the aftermath of disasters, connected with looting and other violent crime that rises during such unrest.