Citizens To TVA: Don’t Rush to Spend $1 Billion on Dirty Coal Plant

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jenna Garland, 404-281-6398,
Kim Teplitzky, 267-307-4707,

Nashville, TN – Yesterday afternoon the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced it will issue an Environmental Assessment (EA) for proposed upgrades at its Gallatin Fossil Plant outside of Nashville, Tennessee. The Sierra Club, Tennessee Clean Water Network and Appalachian Voices responded by calling on TVA not to sink over $1 billion into the aging plant for new scrubbers without fully considering cleaner and cheaper options and without adequate public input in the process.

The draft EA issued by TVA gives members of the public only thirty days to weigh in on the massive project with no opportunity for a public hearing. Instead, local and national groups are urging TVA to complete a much more comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement, extend the comment period, open up the discussions for public hearings and provide key background documents supporting its assumptions.

“Before pouring billions of dollars into a project that will only extend the life of this aging pollution source, TVA should give the people who are going to pay the bill, breathe the air and depend on the water contaminated by Gallatin the opportunity to voice our concerns and our vision for TVA’s future,” said Michelle Haynes, a Sierra Club member and resident of Gallatin. “The TVA has a responsibility to evaluate the full public health, environmental, and customer costs of this expensive decision. We have a right to information about this dirty plant in our backyard.”

Currently, TVA’s plans would raise customer bills for years to come while the plant would continue to pollute the air and the Cumberland River and threaten Old Hickory Lake with a 15-story tall landfill of hazardous coal ash, even though a recent report shows that TVA could meet its power needs with money-saving energy efficiency instead.

A recent expert report by Synapse Energy Economics showed that if TVA invested the same amount of money in energy efficiency it could replace the dirty and outdated Gallatin coal plant by 2015. Investing in energy efficiency would not only save TVA bill payers billions of dollars over the next twenty years, but help reduce dangerous air pollution as older coal plants are retired. However, TVA failed to consider energy efficiency or other clean energy sources before proposing this $1 billion plan for more dirty coal power.

“With cleaner, safer, and more affordable energy options available to us, it is vital that the TVA takes steps to fully examine a proposal that affects not just the air we breathe and the water we drink, but also how much money its customers have to pay to fund these unnecessary and hugely expensive upgrades,” said JW Randolph, Tennessee Director of Appalachian Voices. “TVA says it wants to be a leader on energy efficiency but it’s investing in more pollution. This project is taking us in the wrong direction.”

According to the Clean Air Task Force, the Gallatin coal-fired power plant contributes to 110 premature deaths, 160 heart attacks, and 1,700 asthma attacks annually.