Monday, December 29, 2008

Raked over the Coal in 1984

While the Tennessee Valley Authority is lately casting itself as committed to green technologies, according to one NY Times writer--who squared off with a former TVA Chief Economist (now the "Marathon Oil Company Professor of Energy Policy" at LSU)--a shotgun marriage had to be arranged for the electricity behemoth and the idea of clean air:
TVA has indeed had to accept compliance with the Clean Air Act and with land reclamation standards. The courts forced it to do so. The years of legal battles with environmentalists which finally, in 1977, gave TVA no alternative but to start obeying the law, and the terrible damage wreaked in the meantime by TVA's own smokestacks and by the mining practices of its coal suppliers, are matters of public record.
TVA seems to be in unusual type of animal. According to one source it "is a political entity with a territory the size of a major state, and with some state powers (such as eminent domain), but unlike a state, it has no citizenry or elected officials."

It sounds more like a shadow state, and I keep seeing these videos recorded over the past weekend of Kingston law enforcement telling activists that they cannot go on the Emory or Clinch Rivers because TVA owns them. That seems like an odd arrangement in a republican democracy. Does the U.S. Coast Guard patrolling those rivers serve at the pleasure of the TVA CEO?

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