Judges allows environmental groups’ lawsuit to proceed

August 14, 2021 GMT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge has declined to dismiss a lawsuit brought by environmental groups against the Tennessee Valley Authority.

The recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Thomas Parker means the case will proceed, The Commercial Appeal reported.

The environmental groups, including Memphis-based Protect Our Aquifer, argue the auto-renewing, 20-year contracts TVA has offered local power companies in its footprint violate the federal law governing the federal government-owned utility.

The length of those contracts, the groups argued, would allow TVA to drag its feet on moving away from carbon-based sources of energy and stymie its potential efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

TVA argues that the long-term power agreements don’t govern its power supply choices, but other, different planning documents — an argument that Parker appeared to have seen some merit in.

“Again, the court recognizes that TVA puts forth compelling arguments that may prevail in the end. But this is a motion to dismiss. And plaintiffs’ burden to show standing will increase at each successive stage of litigation,” Parker wrote.