- The Associated Press reports Tennessee Valley Authority has requested the state's lawsuit over possible pollution from its coal ash ponds be moved to federal court.
- The request, which the utility said is its right as a federal entity, will shift the proceeding out of Davidson County Chancery Court.
- Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee ruled in favor of environmental groups, concluding that coal waste left in unlined pits threatens drinking water and violates the Clean Water Act.
Despite a recent setback in federal court, TVA says it wants a coal ash pollution case brought by the state of Tennessee to be heard at that level.
Utility officials say it could cost $2 billion to remove the ash from its Gallatin site, while capping it in place would cost about one-tenth of that figure. Despite the cost, U.S. District Judge Waverly Crenshaw earlier in August directed TVA to move the waste to lined pits, ruling that leaving it in place would gamble with future safety and ensure more litigation.
Officials at TVA are still determining if they will appeal, but the argue that capping in place is dramatically cheaper, and there is no evidence of any threat to the environment or humans at this point.
Capping the pond in place would likely cost about $230 million, according to TVA. The utility's Gallatin plant is located on almost 2,000 acres on the north bank of the Cumberland River in Sumner County, Tenn. The plant has four units with a total capacity of 976 MW. All four units have been operating since the 1950s.
Last year, TVA issued a report on its plans to address coal ash waste at its Bull Run coal plant. Environmentalists, however, say the waste is already below the groundwater table and cannot be left in place.