National Parks Conservation Association Files Suit on TVA Pollution

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   October 2, 2000
Contact:   Libby Fayad, 202-454-3306


National Parks Conservation Association Files Suit on TVA Pollution

Knoxville, TN - The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) claiming that the agency is violating the Clean Air Act at two of the utility's coal-fired power plants closest to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Knoxville, alleges that TVA has violated the legal limit for opacity, a measurement of the density of pollutants discharged from a smoke stack, at its 1,400-megawatt Kingston and 712-megawatt John Sevier steam plants. The Kingston facility burns approximately 3.8 million tons of coal yearly, and the John Sevier plant consumes more than 2 million tons.

"People like to think of the Smokies as a pristine natural environment," said Tom Kiernan, NPCA president. "In fact, it's among the most polluted national parks in America. TVA is a federal agency and a major source of that air pollution, and we want the agency to do much, much more to protect the park."

Researchers in the national park have documented air-pollution damage to 30 different plant species and impacts on another 60 species. Vistas from the high peaks that once stretched for 93 miles now average only 15 miles in the summer tourist season. Coal-fired power plants, such as those operated by TVA, are the largest stationary sources of the harmful, haze-producing pollutants affecting the southern Appalachian region.

The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring TVA to comply with established air-pollution emission limits and to pay civil penalties to the federal government for opacity violations for the past five years.

"We've had a crisis in slow motion going on in these mountains for years," said Don Barger, NPCA's southeast regional director. "Unfortunately, action to clean up the major sources of air pollution has been even slower, and we can no longer afford the risk of delay."

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