SELC files federal lawsuit against TVA over coal ash

Tennessee Valley Authority's Gallatin Fossil Plant along the Cumberland River near Nashville, TN (© Nancy Pierce, Photographer; Flight by Southwings)

In an effort to end decades of coal ash pollution contaminating one of Nashville's drinking water sources, today SELC filed a lawsuit in federal court.

Representing the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association (TSRA) and the Tennessee Clean Water Network (TCWN), SELC brought action against the Tennessee Valley Authority's Gallatin Fossil Plant. Contamination from the plant has been found in the Cumberland River and Old Hickory Lake and levels far exceeding federal standards set by the Clean Water Act.

Last November, the conservation groups filed a notice of intent to file a citizens’ suit against TVA for violations of the Clean Water Act. In response to the notice, the State of Tennessee brought a civil enforcement action under Tennessee law against TVA. The conservation groups have since intervened in the state’s enforcement action and now bring this federal lawsuit to address multiple ongoing violations of the federal Clean Water Act that will not be addressed by the state enforcement action.

“We want to ensure that TVA stops its ongoing pollution of the Cumberland River and Old Hickory Lake and move the toxic coal ash to a safer location away from waterways,” said Anne Davis, Managing Attorney at SELC. “Over 1 million people in the Nashville area depend on the Cumberland River for clean drinking water. TVA’s continued illegal discharge of toxins and its failure to clean up the decades of contamination puts our communities at risk.”

Read SELC's press release for more details about the lawsuit.

The Tennessean and News Channel 5 also covered this latest development.

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