the future of air and water monitoring in Roane County and Matt Landon's day in court

Submitted by matt landon on March 24, 2009 - 12:05am.

Dear folks,

I hope that yall are well. Things are going good here. Just enjoying a little bit of American freedom. So I went to court in Kingston, TN this morning at 9 AM. It was an interesting experience. I met my public defender and learned that TVA had presented a motion to revoke my bond because I had asked a CTEH employee to help set up parallel air monitoring sometime in the future and that I had also set up an air monitor with a land owner's express permission on their property that had been purchased by TVA. This land owner was not allowed by TVA order to tell me that the property had been sold and so I had no way of knowing that it had been bought by TVA. After my court case today a TVA police officer informed UMD volunteers Tom and Bonnie Swinford that they were not allowed to visit this resident or do air monitoring on the property because TVA owned the property and the TVA police could decide who was allowed to enter the property. This resident is staying on this property for a few more months and had a pre- existing contract with UMD to do air monitoring and photograph the disaster site. This resident is very concerned about the quality of air coming from the disaster site near the property.

I was threatened with up to one year in jail for my work with the air monitoring program. Truthfully I love yall but it sorta freaked me out today to hear that I may spend a year in jail because I put up an air monitor.

TVA is very scared about the samples that we are taking with this air monitoring equipment and they are willing to threaten me and other UMD volunteers to keep this valuable field work from being done. We need your help. UMD volunteers have listened to your concerns about air and water quality, we have done the sampling, and we have been threatened with jail time because of our scientific monitoring.

So after speaking with my public defender and letting them know that I would not plead guilty to any of the charges the prosecutor came back with a deal. They would drop one of the charges and just give me a fine for two of them with a guilty plea. No deal!!!! I called for a pre-trial hearing. The prosecutor began to squirm and made some phone calls to the TVA so they could rally the arresting officers and the CTEH employee. Just before the pre-trial hearing began the prosecutor came back with another deal. All of the charges would be dismissed!!!! Sounds a bit better, but what is the catch.

Well for the next six months I cannot travel on the Clinch or Emory River from Interstate 40 to mile marker 4 on the Emory River. I cannot enter the 750 foot elevation (100 year flood plain) near these two rivers. I cannot interact with any TVA employees or any other company workers employed by TVA to work on the Coal Ash Disaster. The $3,000 bond will be held for the next six months until a follow up trial date of Sept 21, 2009 at which time I will have to pay court costs of nearly $600. If at any time I break any of these clauses I will be pulled back into court and all bets are off probably meaning jail time.

So what does this all mean? Well the future of your community's water and air monitoring program now rests with you, the community members. I can provide the training and skills but have now had a MAJOR dent put into the amount of access that I have to the disaster site and the area surrounding TVA's Kingston Steam Plant. If you want this air monitoring project to continue then I would please ask you to step up to the plate, get the training, and set up an air monitor on you or your neighbor's land.

Here is how you can help:

1) document your health issues/ go to the doctor or hospital, take the MSDS sheets

2) come to a Tennessee Coal Ash Survivors Meeting Tues 6PM rotating locations

3) get training to gather air/ water/ coal ash samples

4) give water monitoring people a boat ride on the river during the dredging to gather samples

5) contact UMD if you would like to have an air monitor set up on your property

6) contact your elected officials and ask for independent air monitoring

7) contact TDEC and CTEH and ask for parallel sampling with UMD's air monitors

TDEC- Air Resources

Tracy Carter Senior Director 615- 532- 0127

Air Pollution 615- 532- 0554

Call 1-888-891-TDEC (8332)
ask.tdec@tn.gov

CTEH

Phone (501) 801-8500
Email: support@cteh.com

Alright yall, please let’s find a way to work together and gather the much needed independent data that you have asked for. As much as I want to help your community I am not willing to spend a year in jail for the cause. You as community members have the power to install these monitors and the power to gather this information. Please feel empowered to do so.

Thank you, matt landon volunteer staff for UMD and dedicated volunteer for Roane County


freedom

this is not freedom
but a deal against
the brave
the few
the caring

I thank you for offering
yourself
your time
your safety
your pride
for our community
and from our community
may God bless your
soul
keep you safe
and prosper

WhitesCreek's picture
Matt,

This is a rotten deal.

TVA is way out of line on this. Not only that, but it looks like the community is not being protected by the justice system that we ourselves are paying for.

I can't wrap my head around all this just yet but I do want to thank you for your perseverance. Even though you and I have disagreed at times, I feel you have meant well in all your actions and tried to do good things as you've seen them.

I hope that the powers that be in TVA will reconsider their chosen course. Nothing in this sorry case shows TVA in a good light and that is horribly disappointing. I really thought we would see a less sinister face of this once great entity.

Thank you and good luck,

Steve

farmer leaf's picture
Matt's story

should firmly convince the residents of Roane County that TVA is about protecting TVA, and will crush any perceived threats to their image and regional hegemony. Unfortunately, the local In-Justice system will support TVA's dictatorial stance by putting a veneer of legality over tyrannical practices.

Having experienced and witnessed TVA's jackbooted approach to free speech firsthand as an environmental activist (RiverKeeper), Matt's story rings oh so familiar. They hope that by going overboard on Matt, that the rest of the community will think twice about bucking up to them. He is a warning to all--cross us, and we'll turn your life upside down. TVA doesn't really want any community input, they have their own agenda and their own plan, and it is already fixed in stone.

Will the citizens step up in the name of liberty and challenge TVA?

Living and teaching Earth friendly sustainable agricultural practices.

Matt Landon - UMD - UNFAIR Treatment

Matt Landon has done nothing wrong and I cannot understand the outcome of the court decision.

Matt, I support you and appreciate your work.

We, as a community, need to protect our rights and our environment. TVA certainly doesn't want us in control and it is evident by the events relating to Matt's arrest, there is a lot more TVA may be protecting.

Matt, thank you!

Sarah McCoin

This rather abruptly removes the Smiley Face

that TVA has been putting forth. While I am not a 100% supporter of UMD's methodology, they succeeded in forcing TVA to demonstrate how much muscle they are prepared to use to maintain control. Considering the relative insignificance of Matt's offense and their steamroller response, the tone is now being set for things to come.

Wake UP

People better not sit back and let just a few people fight for you. You'd better start coming up with ideas for a plan. You'd better start going to the officials' meetings demanding water and air monitoring other than what TVA is doing. We better unite or most of our elected officials will do whatever they want and to hell with us. Don't just talk about it. Do It.

onetahiti's picture
ACLU?

Who is running Roane County, the people or TVA?

Has anyone contacted the ACLU about all this? Here's the link: Link...

It is shameful that Matt Landon had to make do with a public defender.

-- OneTahiti

farmer leaf's picture
Is there not a lawyer

or two who is willing to work pro-bono with the community to defend those who cross the line in civil disobedience (i.e. putting up air monitors)?

This needs to go larger media-wise.

Living and teaching Earth friendly sustainable agricultural practices.

Tomorrow

At the 4:30 meeting, I am going to ask Mayor Mike Farmer to keep his word to me. He told me once that if we needed a place to install the monitors, he would provide a place. I'm going to ask him to escort someone who is familiar with installing these monitors to the place he provides. We'll see how serious he and others are.

Be sure not to forget and antagonize him inadvertently...

... by calling him Mayor. :-) Don't give him any excuses.

RB

Matt Landon - UMD - UNFAIR Treatment

"...land of the free and the brave..." indeed!!!

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