Reports predict some lovely spring weather this weekend… but instead of frolicking outdoors, SACE staff will be diligently reviewing the last-minute release of data from TVA just days before the deadline to comment on the utility’s long-term plan.
Federal law prohibits TVA from basing its long-term plan, known as the Integrated Resource Plan or IRP, on information that is not publicly available. SACE and the Center for Biological Diversity requested documents referenced in the draft IRP, but were told to submit the request as a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request – a process that can take months.
We subsequently requested an extension of the comment deadline until the documents were produced. We pointed out that the information should be provided immediately to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, and per the federal guidelines for this planning process, the IRP could not proceed until such information was available for review. Rather than extend the deadline, TVA released the documents just over three business days before the April 8 deadline. We have again requested an extension fo the comment deadline, which TVA denied.
TVA is still in the process of putting all of the documents online, so we are providing them in a shared folder here. As of 11:00am ET April 4, 2019 TVA had only made 10 of the 68 documents provided to SACE under the request public. Shortly after that time the website TVA is using to provide these documents to the public went down completely and remains inactive as of 9:30am ET April 8, 2019, just hours before comments on the IRP are due.
“TVA’s draft planning documents paint a grim picture, projecting continued reliance on dirty fossil fuels for the next 20 years.”
Regarding the requested data, Howard Crystal, Senior Attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, provided the following statement: “TVA’s draft planning documents paint a grim picture, projecting continued reliance on dirty fossil fuels for the next 20 years. Such a future is unacceptable given we have the technology and urgent need to transition to renewables much sooner. It’s impossible to understand how these troubling projections were made when TVA is hiding the underlying data.”
“As a public power company, TVA should be doing everything it can to be transparent and facilitate public input on its plans.”
Dr. Stephen Smith, Executive Director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, also provided a statement: “As a public power company, TVA should be doing everything it can to be transparent and facilitate public input on its plans. Unfortunately, we’re seeing just the opposite. How can anyone analyze TVA’s plan without seeing the data first? It is crucial and federally required that the public have the information necessary to provide relevant input, and since TVA has waited until the last minute and only provided partial documentation to the public, the deadline for input should be extended, and we have made this formal request.”
Learn more about TVA’s lack of transparency at NotPublicPower.org.