Tennessee (Feb. 11, 2019) – Congressmen Tim Burchett (TN-02) and Steve Cohen (TN-09) wrote Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) President William D. Johnson demanding answers about TVA’s announcement that ratepayers might have to pay for the misdeeds of the contractor it used for cleanup work at its Kingston plant following the nation’s worst coal ash spill.
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, TVA hired Jacobs Engineering, who later admitted that it lied to workers about the level of risk to which they were ultimately exposed, and struck a deal to pay legal bills for lawsuits Jacobs defends relating to the cleanup.
The decade of destruction and death, that has followed for fellow Tennessee workers and residents raises questions about how effective TVA is in managing its facilities and Tennessee’s resources. Especially when one considers that U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Varlan ruled in 2012 that TVA was liable for the spill. In his ruling he wrote, “if TVA had followed its own policies, the problems that led to the dike failure would have been investigated and addressed.”
“TVA’s congressionally mandated mission is to improve the quality of life in the Valley through the integrated management of the region’s resources,” said the Congressmen in their letter. “Regrettably, it seems that TVA’s irresponsible actions have achieved the opposite effect — more than 40 workers have died, including at least two TVA employees, and more than 400 are sick.”