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Industry News

TVA Gets Sued over Dirty Coal-Burners

LCG, July 11, 2000--The federal governments Tennessee Valley Authority, which owns some of the dirtiest coal-fired power plants in the U.S., is being sued by the National Parks Conservation Association because two of its plants have fouled Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Great Smokies were named by the Cherokee Indians after a blue haze prevalent in the area, long before TVA built its first power plant.

The NPCA said it is suing TVAs 1,600 megawatt Kingston plant which burns 3.8 tons of coal yearly and its 800 megawatt John Sevier plant which consumes 2 million tons of coal a year to force them to clean up their operations.

"Great Smoky is the most polluted park in the United States," said Tom Kiernan, NPCA president. "Coal-fired power plants are the largest single source of this pollution. As a major regional source of air pollution, TVA must take responsibility for their impact to the park."

The Kingston and John Sevier plants were "grandfathered" from most provisions of the Clean Air Act, as were a number of other TVA plants. Environmental Protection Agency data from 1998 showed TVAs Chattanooga plant to be the industrial facility emitting the most oxides of nitrogen in the U.S. and its Cumberland plant to be the worst offender in emissions of sulphur dioxide.

The EPA recently initiated legal action against TVA for allegedly making modifications to its coal-fired plants without installing modern pollution control equipment.

Don Barger, NPCAs regional director for the Southeast, said "Our intent is to ensure that any future pollution reductions made by TVA help address the serious air pollution problem at Great Smoky Mountains National Park."

The NPCA has been around since 1919, keeping an eye on the national park system, and has more than 400,000 members.

TVA is a New Deal agency, formed in the 1930s to harness the Tennessee River and provide hydroelectric power to the region.

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