Mon
Dec 14 2009
03:20 pm

The Environmental Integrity Project today released a hard-hitting report entitled "Outside the Law: Restoring Accountability to the Tennessee Valley Authority." Key findings include:

  • TVA's own Inspector General found that TVA negligence contributed to the Kingston disaster, and that TVA avoided full transparency to limit litigation following the spill.
     
  • TVA intended to transition its coal waste ponds from wet-to-dry systems over 20 years ago, a move that could have averted the coal ash disasters at both Kingston and Widows Creek and curb TVA's harmful water discharges. However, no such action was taken and TVA reported to EPA that it discharged 3,433,291 pounds of toxic pollutants into surface waters in 2008 alone.
     
  • The TVA IG also found that TVA bypassed air emission controls at the Cumberland, Widows Creek and Bull Run coal plants, resulting in well over a thousand tons of illegal emissions. According to the IG reports, TVA delayed fixing the problem or reporting the emissions to regulatory authorities.
     
  • TVA is home to some of the oldest and least efficient coal plants in the U.S., and spends less on maintenance than many of its competitors. Unlike some utilities, there is little evidence that TVA is making the transition toward cleaner, low carbon source of electricity—its recalcitrance may be aided by federal law that prohibits competition within TVA's service area.
     
  • Equally troubling, TVA repeatedly invokes its status as a "federal" agency to avoid responsibility for its own environmental misconduct. TVA raises issues of federal "sovereign immunity" to avoid penalties in environmental enforcement cases filed by citizens in federal court, yet TVA does not receive federal funds or tax dollars drawn from the U.S. Treasury. Limitations on the ability to recover penalties from federal agencies are supposed to protect the taxpayer— but TVA is completely self-financing, and has not received federal appropriations in decades; any fines paid by TVA need not come from the U.S. Treasury.

Press release

Full report
 

189
like
Rachel's picture

TVA is completely

TVA is completely self-financing, and has not received federal appropriations in decades

It's a quibble, but it's only been 1 decade since TVA stopped receiving Federal funds for non-power activities (economic development, some environmental stuff, etc.) - although it was never as much as people yelped about, roughly 2% of the TVA budget IIRC.

sugarfatpie's picture

TVA is home to some of the

TVA is home to some of the oldest and least efficient coal plants in the U.S., and spends less on maintenance than many of its competitors.

Maybe we should pressure to repeal the federal law that protects TVA from competition?

 

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher) "X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

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