Tennessee Governor Tours Coal Ash Spill

Tennessee's governor promises greater oversight of coal ash retention ponds after touring damage from a 1-billion-gallon spill.

Gov. Phil Bredesen said Wednesday he had no complaints with the Tennessee Valley Authority, which operates the Kingston power plant where a pond burst last week and poured ashy sludge over 300 acres and into a river.

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But Bredesen vowed state environmental regulators will be "looking over their shoulder."

Bredesen said the state is launching immediate inspections of all other TVA retention ponds and a review of regulations for the ponds.

The state will conduct daily tests of water sources for the cities of Kingston and Rockwood until the threat of contamination from arsenic and heavy metals in the sludge has passed.

Bredesen joined TVA President and CEO Tom Kilgore as they saw from a helicopter the damage caused when a retaining wall failed Dec. 22 at a pond that held coal ash, spilling a billion gallons of it at the Kingston steam plant.

Officials toured part of the power plant and took a short walking tour of the area where the sludge spread.

Reporters saw Bredesen pick up a piece of debris and look at the sludge on it.