Outside the Law

Nearly one year ago, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) made front page news when an 84-acre coal combustion waste (CCW or coal waste) impoundment at Kingston Fossil Plant spilled more than 1 billion gallons of toxic coal waste—an amount nearly 100 times greater than the Exxon Valdez oil spill—into the Emory River and surrounding community. The spill covered land and water with coal sludge up to 12 feet deep, and destroyed homes, playgrounds, businesses, roads, waterways, and railroad tracks.

However, the evidence in this report reveals that the Kingston spill is only the latest and most dramatic example of environmental mismanagement at one of the nation’s largest utilities. President Roosevelt established TVA nearly 80 years ago as a public utility dedicated to progressive management on behalf of the public interest, but TVA’s environmental record and conduct in recent years mock the vision that inspired its founding.