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File photo / TVA's Gallatin Steam Plant in Gallatin, Tennesse

The Tennessee Valley Authority, which settled a lawsuit last year by agreeing to dig up 12 million tons of coal ash previously stored in unlined pits at the Gallatin Fossil Plant, is moving forward with plans to store the plant residues in a lined dry storage landfill near the plant, pending state approval.

TVA released its final environmental impact statement on its coal ash disposal plans at Gallatin on Friday. The preferred option is to use the existing onsite lined dry storage landfill at Gallatin which could be expanded to handle the coal ash.

Various activities that support closure-by-removal were also evaluated in the environmental assessment, including remediation of a former gun range, development of a new office complex, and relocation of existing communications and alarm towers.

Under the settlement with state regulators TVA reached in June 2019, TVA has 20 years to complete the coal ash removal, from the unlined pits, which TVA estimates will cost it $640 million.

David Salyers, commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, praised the settlement last year to clean up Gallatin which was spurred by lawsuits against the agency by several environmental groups.

In June 2019, TVA and the state of Tennessee agreed to close the wet impoundments and remove the ash at Gallatin.

In early 2019. TVA also agreed to dig up 5 million tons of coal ash stored at the Allen coal plant in Memphis, which was been converted to a natural gas plant.

TVA expects to spend billion of dollars over the next two decades to clean up the coal ash left from more than a half century of coal-fired power generation.

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