TVA hosting reservoir workshops

By Kathy Helms-Hughes
STAR STAFF
khelms@starhq.com

   Tennessee Valley Authority will hold 12 community workshops during July and August to obtain public comment on eight policy alternatives for managing the Tennessee River system.
   A draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was developed following a two-year study of operating policies and includes guidance from public, federal, state and local agencies.
   The draft EIS was made available to the public Friday and is now available on the TVA Web site (www.tva.gov) and in local libraries across the Tennessee Valley.
   After obtaining comments on the draft, TVA will develop a final EIS which will identify a preferred alternative.
   The Reservoir Operations Study is being conducted to determine whether changes in river operation policies would be of greater value to the public.
   David Nye, project manager of the study for TVA, said, "We have been working for more than a year defining the scope of the study, developing alternatives for operating the reservoir system, and analyzing data.
   "We want to get comments from people on what they think of these alternatives and their implications to the many benefits the river system provides," he said.
   "Whether you live on the shores of a TVA reservoir or never go near the water, you benefit from how TVA operates the river system. Everyone in the Tennessee Valley is affected by the balance of benefits and trade-offs in how the water is used," Nye said in announcing last year's public workshop, held in Blountville.
   Included in the study is a "base case" alternative as well as seven others with proposed operational changes that would alter the balance of benefits provided by the river system. Examples include holding summer levels longer to enhance recreation and providing greater river depths for commercial navigation.
   TVA manages the Tennessee River system for flood-risk reduction, year-round navigation, affordable electricity, improved water quality, economic growth, water supply and recreation.
   The month-long series of workshops will be held in Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky and Mississippi. None of the workshops will be held in Carter County; however, the public will have an opportunity to attend several in nearby towns.
   Workshops will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at Pellissippi State Technical Community College in Knoxville; 5 to 8 p.m. July 24 at The Centre in Bristol, Tenn.; 2 to 8 p.m. July 28 at Morristown-Hamblen High School West in Morristown, and 2 to 8 p.m. July 29 in Murphy, N.C.
   The public may submit comments on TVA's Web site, use computers available at a community workshop, talk with a court reporter at a workshop, or write comments on a card and return it to TVA.
   Comments also may be submitted by fax to TVA at (865) 632-3146 or by writing to: ROS Project Manager David Nye, TVA, c/o WT 11A, 400 West Summit Hill Drive, Knoxville, TN 37902.