TVA plows ahead with plans for Kingston gas plant, ignores clean energy alternatives

Press release from the Southern Environmental Law Center, Appalachian Voices and Sierra Club

February 16, 2024

Emily Driscoll,, 404-641-8108
Carolyn Morrisroe,
Dan Radmacher,, 540-798-6683

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — On Friday, the Tennessee Valley Authority announced it will move forward with plans to build a new gas plant and pipeline, forcing families in the Tennessee Valley to foot the bill for the polluting and outdated fossil fuel infrastructure.

TVA’s Final Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Kingston gas plant is another dangerous step in the federal utility’s plans to replace the Kingston coal plant with a new gas plant. The plans also include the construction of the 122-mile Ridgeline Expansion Project, a pipeline that would cut through communities and over 400 waterbody crossings in Roane, Morgan, Fentress, Overton, Putnam, Jackson, Smith, and Trousdale counties in East and Middle Tennessee.

The proposed power plant would rely on methane gas, forcing customers to pay expensive and volatile fuel prices for decades to come. Rising methane gas costs have already cost TVA customers through increased “fuel cost adjustment” fees, leading to higher power bills across the region.

“Just last year TVA raised its power rates, in part to fund this massive, multibillion-dollar fossil fuel spending spree,” Amanda Garcia, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, said. “The nation’s largest federal utility should be searching for ways to lower power bills for families across the Tennessee Valley, not recklessly wasting money on outdated and polluting energy sources.”

“This project threatens hundreds of waterways that Tennesseans hold dear, including well and spring water that families have relied on for generations,” said Gabi Lichtenstein, Tennessee Energy Democracy Field Coordinator for Appalachian Voices. “Not only would these communities have to give up their land, risking long-term impacts to their soil and water quality, but TVA wants them to pay for the project with higher energy bills, too.”

The Kingston Gas Plant and Ridgeline Expansion pipeline are both pieces of TVA’s multibillion-dollar fossil fuel buildout. The buildout, which is one of the largest of any electric utility in the country, will worsen the impacts of the climate crisis and harm people in communities throughout the Tennessee Valley.

“Rural Tennesseans have long borne the burden for powering our state with dirty and expensive fossil fuels, and this project continues that legacy,” said Emily Sherwood, Field Organizer for the Sierra Club. “As the largest public utility in the nation, it’s time for TVA to shift their energy generation to clean and safe energy sources that center the needs of the communities they are charged to serve.”

Communities around the Kingston coal plant have experienced firsthand the long-lasting damage caused by TVA’s reliance on fossil fuels. This Final EIS comes shortly after the 15th anniversary of the Kingston coal ash spill, when more than a billion gallons of TVA’s toxic coal ash waste broke through a dike and flooded nearby communities and waterways, requiring a years-long cleanup that sickened hundreds of workers. Now, TVA is pushing forward with plans for a polluting gas plant at the site of the largest industrial spill in U.S. history, instead of investing in a reliable, safe, and non-polluting power supply at Kingston.

The Southern Environmental Law Center is one of the nation’s most powerful defenders of the environment, rooted in the South. With a long track record, SELC takes on the toughest environmental challenges in court, in government, and in our communities to protect our region’s air, water, climate, wildlife, lands, and people. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, the organization has a staff of 200, including 100 attorneys, and is headquartered in Charlottesville, Va., with offices in Asheville, Atlanta, Birmingham, Chapel Hill, Charleston, Nashville, Richmond, and Washington, D.C.

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person’s right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit

Appalachian Voices is a leading nonprofit advocate for a healthy environment and just economy in the Appalachian region, and a driving force in America’s shift from fossil fuels to a clean energy future.