Environmentalists urge TVA to shut down Gallatin plant

photo Tennessee Valley Authority headquarters and TVA logo
Arkansas-St. John's Live Blog

Environmental activists appealed to the TVA board today to shut down the Gallatin coal plant in Middle Tennessee rather than spend $1.2 billion to install pollution controls to extend the life of the 54-year-old plant.

Megan Spooner, a UTC professor who volunteers for the Chattanooga Local Climate Action Team and the Sierra Club, presented TVA directors petitions from area residents urging the shut down of the Gallatin Fossil Plant.

"Other electric utilities have proven that it is possible to use energy efficiency at much higher levels," Spooner said.

"The age of coal has passed and now is the time for TVA to retreat from fossil fuels that pump out more carbon into the atmosphere and move to other renewable sources," added Louise Gorenflo, a member of the Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club.

But TVA's new CEO, Bill Johnson, said Gallatin remains an important part of TVA's power portfolio and remains a cost-effective source of electricity.

"(Gallatin) continues to be a cost-effective, important and big asset for us," Johnson said today following a TVA board meeting in Chattnaooga. "We heard a lot of input today and we'll certainly go back and look at what was said today. It still looks like a pretty good project and from what we know today we're going to continue on with that project."

Overall, TVA gets more than 40 percent of its energy from coal-fired power plants.