Environmental group sues TVA over support for industry group

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / The Tennessee Valley Authority logo adorns their offices in downtown Chattanooga on May 7, 2019.

An environmental group opposed to Trump administration plans to ease proposed regulations of coal ash is suing the Tennessee Valley Authority for not disclosing records about TVA support for an industry group fighting stricter controls on coal combustion products.

The Energy and Policy Institute filed a lawsuit this week in federal court in Knoxville, claiming TVA is violating the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by not releasing records regarding TVA's support for the Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) and the Utility Solid Waste Activities Group (USWAG), which has fought stricter EPA rules on coal pollution.

In previous Congressional testimony, TVA said it has been a member of UARG since 1987 and contributed $7.3 million to the industry lobbying group since August 2001 before the group was disbanded in May. TVA spokesman Jim Hopson said this spring that UARG helped TVA understand and comply with Clean Air Act regulations, but he said the federal utility "does not participate in or fund any UARG litigation of lobbying."