- Associated Press - Monday, January 30, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Latest on the Tennessee Valley Authority’s coal ash trial (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

Environmental groups have opened a trial against the Tennessee Valley Authority by claiming coal ash from the utility’s aging power plant near Nashville has been seeping from storage ponds for years and polluting the Cumberland River.

In the trial that begin Monday in Nashville federal court, TVA is disputing those claims involving the Gallatin plant by the Tennessee Clean Water Network and Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association.

In an opening statement, environmental attorney Beth Alexander said 27 billion gallons of polluted wastewater leaked out of the site from 1970 to 1978. She says the pollution continues because TVA has not plugged sinkholes in the ponds. She said the facility is a colander, not a container.

In response, TVA attorney David Ayliffe said that he doesn’t expect evidence will show that the coal ash ponds are leaking pollutants in violation of the Clean Water Act or the facility’s state permit.

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7 a.m.

Environmental groups are taking the Tennessee Valley Authority to trial over whether coal ash from its coal-fired power plant near Nashville, Tennessee, polluted the Cumberland River in violation of the Clean Water Act.

In the bench trial starting Monday in Nashville federal court, the Tennessee Clean Water Network and Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association target the TVA’s storage of coal ash, waste from burning coal for energy.

The environmental groups say coal ash storage ponds at Gallatin Fossil Plant, northeast of Nashville, have been illegally seeping toxic pollutants for years into the groundwater and the nearby Cumberland River.

They say state regulators haven’t properly addressed the problem.

The TVA, a federal utility serving customers in seven Southern states, says it has followed state and federal permits. It says decades of data show no impact on drinking water sources.

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