Federal judge orders mediation in coal ash spill

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A federal judge has ordered mediation between the Tennessee Valley Authority and Roane County residents suing over a massive coal ash spill in 2008.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that on Monday, U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan gave the two sides 120 days to reach a settlement.

Varlan said he would consider allowing more time for mediation if needed. If issues remain after mediation, the case will proceed to trail.

Varlan already found TVA liable after the Kingston Fossil Plant dumped 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash sludge into the Emory River and surrounding land.

About 872 plaintiffs are suing TVA for damages. Plaintiffs asked the court to order mediation.

TVA did not oppose mediation but wanted to hold off until some key issues were settled.

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