Southern Environmental Law Center asks TVA for information on coal-fired plant decommissioning – Tennessee Lookout

On behalf of the Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Appalachian Voices, the Southern Environmental Law Center has asked TVA to prepare a supplemental environmental statement to address concerns about TVA’s draft environmental impact statement, which outlines the agency’s plans to decommission the Cumberland Fossils are listed attachment.

The Cumberland Fossil Plant, located about 22 miles southwest of Clarksville, is TVA’s largest coal-fired power plant and was built between 1968 and 1973. TVA plans to decommission each unit of the two-block coal-fired steam generation plant separately: one unit no later than 2030 and the second unit no later than 2033. But the plant needs to be replaced, and TVA is currently considering three alternatives to fossil fuels, including natural gas and solar power, according to its ICE design.

Since submitting the first draft in May 2021, TVA has publicly stated that they plan to replace the coal-fired power plant with natural gas and a 32-mile pipeline to transport gas to the plant in order to achieve their “net-zero” decarbonization goal. to be reached in 2050.

However, members of the two conservation groups said they are concerned about TVA’s current plans to shut down the facility, noting that community groups and federal agencies have pushed back on the agency’s plans.

“The Cumberland Fossil Plant is one of the nation’s dirtiest power plants and its decommissioning is long overdue. But rather than use retirement as an opportunity to transition to a clean energy future, TVA plans to double the use of dirty fossil fuels of the past by replacing the aging facility with a new “natural gas” facility and pipeline,” said SELC Director Amanda Garcia.

Garcia said there are concerns about how low-income communities will continue to be impacted by TVA projects. TVA officials assessed areas near the Cumberland plant but did not consider environmental justice and the populations disproportionately affected by the pollution, advocates said.

The Environmental Protection Agency also identified significant issues with TVA’s draft EIS and “strongly recommends modifying the proposed measure or selecting another preferred alternative.”

Conservation groups have argued that TVA must come up with a new plan in response to federal inflation-reduction legislation that offers tax credits and incentives for renewable energy and climate change.

“The utility’s multi-billion dollar gas expansion will exacerbate the effects of climate change and oblige TVA’s customers to pay for expensive fossil fuels for decades to come. Just this summer, TVA hiked fees to pay for high methane gas prices,” Garcia said.

According to TVA spokesman Scott Brooks, TVA is considering all comments and requests made since the release was drafted for inclusion in the final EIS, which is expected to be released by the end of the year. “It is premature to speculate on the outcome of the current EIS, which was released to the public in draft form earlier this year,” Brooks said.

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