August 4, 2017 - A federal judge has agreed with the Tennessee Clean Water Network’s claim that coal ash ponds at TVA’s Gallatin Plant in Middle Tennessee are a danger to the public and that the coal ash needs to be dug up and moved to a landfill with a liner to protect the area’s water resources.
Judge Waverly Crenshaw, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, said today that, “"TVA is ordered to wholly excavate the ash waste disposal areas designated in the accompanying Findings of Fact & Conclusions of Law as the Ash Pond Complex and the Non-Registered Site and shall relocate the excavated coal ash waste to a lined impoundment with no significant risk of discharge into the waters of the United States.”
The Tennessee Clean Water Network was co-counsel along with the Southern Environmental Law Center in the lawsuit against TVA. The Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association, represented by the SELC, was co-plaintiff Tennessee Clean Water Network.
“This is a great victory for the TCWN members and the general public that live in and around the Gallatin Plant,” said Renee Hoyos, TCWN Executive Director. “The court found that the coal ash ponds in the area are a significant health hazard and something has to be done to protect the ground and surface water near the plant.”
“I hope that TVA does the right thing and begins to follow the judge’s orders immediately, instead of using ratepayer money to pursue a lengthy and costly appeal of this decision. The judge’s two page ruling sends a message to other utilities with coal ash ponds that this will not be an accepted means of storage of toxic coal ash,” Hoyos added.
The case was heard in a bench trial in front of Judge Crenshaw in January and February of this year. TCWN was represented by Staff Attorney Shelby Ward in the lawsuit. Judge Crenshaw gave TVA 30 days from the entry of the court order to file an itemized proposed timetable for compliance with the order and to file a proposed schedule for periodic updates with the Court.
Contact Renee Hoyos at 865-607-6618