Last Minute “Transparency” – TVA releases key planning data days before comment deadline

Maggie Shober and Amelia Shenstone | April 3, 2019 | Alabama, Tennessee, Utilities

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.

Click here to see TVA’s responses to SACE questions on the draft IRP

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 IRP-related FOIA Document Status as of 11:00am ET 4/4/2019 (Click image for TVA page with documents)

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 (less than 48 hours prior to comment deadline) TVA had only made 10 of the 68 documents provided to SACE under the request public.

This is the latest hangup in a poorly managed process that has symbolized TVA’s worrisome turn away from public accountability and meaningful public participation.

“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.

 

Maggie Shober
Maggie Shober started as the Director of Power Market Analytics at SACE in March of 2018. In her position, she works to speed the clean energy transformation in the Southeast…
My Profile