NORRIS, Tenn.― Community groups, coal-ash cleanup workers and others will face the Tennessee Valley Authority’s board at its meetings Tuesday and Wednesday to demand that the utility protect workers and environmental justice communities and transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. The board meets this week to hear public comments and hold its quarterly meeting.
What: Tennessee Valley community groups and energy justice organizations testify at TVA board listening session and present petition at board meeting.
When: TVA listening session, 2 p.m. ET, Tuesday, May 9, 2023; Board meeting, 9 a.m. ET, Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Where: Norris Middle School, 5 Norris Square, Norris, Tenn. The May 10 TVA board meeting will be livestreamed.
Who: Clean Up TVA Coalition (including Appalachian Voices, the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, Sunrise Nashville, Knoxville DSA), SAGE TN, frontline community members, coal ash cleanup workers and their families.
TVA, the country’s largest public power provider, generates electricity for 10 million customers in seven states. But just 3% of its energy supply comes from solar and wind. The utility plans to emit more than 34 million tons of carbon dioxide a year by 2038, according to its own projections.
New board members appointed by President Biden can reclaim power given to TVA’s CEO and phase out the utility’s carbon pollution to meet the president’s climate goals of 100% renewable energy by 2035.
TVA plans to replace its Cumberland and Kingston coal plants with new gas plants and pipelines, a decision delegated by previous board members to CEO Jeff Lyash. Under Lyash, the nation’s highest-paid federal employee, TVA will have the second-largest planned gas buildout by 2030 among all major utilities.
The utility’s fossil fuel legacy and lack of public engagement has disproportionately harmed workers and environmental justice communities. More than 60 workers have died since the 2008 Kingston Coal Ash spill. In 2022 TVA began dumping tons of coal ash in a Black community in South Memphis.
A new study demonstrates that a transition to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2035 would save TVA customers more than $255 billion over the next 25 years, lower energy burdens and create thousands of new jobs annually. Another recent study shows thousands of jobs would be created if TVA invests in energy efficiency.