It was the nations largest coal ash spill, and it would bring a stampede of government supervisors, environmental advocates, lawyers, journalists, politicians and contractors to Kingston, Tenn.
But not one of them asked why the hundreds of blue-collar laborers cleaning up the mess werent wearing even basic dust masks.
Or why their safety gear consisted of nothing more than short-sleeved T-shirts, jeans, work boots and vinyl reflective vests.
Now, nearly a decade later, at least 17 of those workers are dead, dozens more are dying, and the conditions under which they worked are being blamed.
I call them the expendables, said Janie Clark, wife of a worker in failing health. These men were treated like collateral damage, and they fell between the cracks in this toxic place.
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