Report on TVA Management: Hello, One Hand. Meet the Other

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A photographic approximation of a TVA couple's therapy session.
  • A photographic approximation of a TVA couple's therapy session.
TVA needs marital counseling. The nation's largest public power company needs to talk (insert effusive counselor gesturing). To really learn how to communicate...with itself.

According to a report examining the management of TVA's coal-ash storage operations, one hand didn't seem to know what the other was doing. A study obtained by the News Sentinel said, "Communications between four separate TVA divisions with responsibilities for ash retention facilities was 'strained and in some instances, nonexistent'."

Worse yet, TVA took a Band-Aid approach to leaks in the Kingston ash pond dikes when it should have been looking at systemic problems. The report also noted TVA had no standard procedures for maintaining and operating wet-ash ponds, which is an unstable, environmentally hazardous method for ash storage anyway.

The overall conclusions of the TVA marital counseling session with itself: "'The necessary system, controls and culture were not in place' to properly manage the coal ash operations at TVA's 11 coal-fired power plants."

In the wake of one of the worst industrial spills in the history of this country, it's refreshing to see people taking a hard look at the way we store the toxic waste generated by dirty, dysfunctional coal.

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