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The Wages of Coal

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Oh coal, you never have any downsides.

A federal jury on Wednesday ruled a global contractor tasked with keeping disaster clean-up workers safe instead endangered them – some fatally.

A jury in U.S. District Court spent five hours deliberating before returning a verdict Wednesday in favor of the hundreds of blue-collar laborers who say they were sickened during the clean-up of the nation’s largest coal ash spill.

More than 30 workers who cleaned up the December 2008 spill at the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston Fossil Fuel Power Plant in Roane County are dead, and more than 250 are sick or dying. They sued Jacobs Engineering, a global contractor TVA put in charge of cleaning up its mess and keeping workers safe. TVA ratepayers paid the firm more than $64 million.

Jurors deciding the first phase of the workers’ toxic tort lawsuit in Chief U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan’s courtroom heard three weeks of testimony before returning its verdict.

The panel ruled Jacobs failed to adhere to its contract with TVA, failed to “exercise reasonable care” in keeping workers safe and, in its failures, likely caused the poisoning by coal ash of the laborers, many of whom live in East Tennessee.

So we are going to be talking about hundreds of deaths by the time this is through? This definitely is a form of energy we want to double down on.

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