Tennessee Valley Authority

(redirected from Norris Dam)
Also found in: Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Tennessee Valley Authority

The Norris Dam was one of the first major projects of the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1942. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
The Norris Dam was one of the first major projects of the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1942.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

In 1933, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt approved the passage of the Tennessee Valley Authority Act (16 U.S.C.A. § 831 et seq.). The act provided for a source of hydroelectric power, control of a troublesome flood situation, revitalization of forest areas, and navigation and economic benefits for the region. These goals, announced during a devastating nationwide depression, made the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) an ambitious project of the era.

The idea for the project was originally developed in 1918, when two nitrate facilities and a dam were constructed at Muscle Shoals, Alabama, on the Tennessee River. Previously the area had been prone to severe floods, and water travel was impeded by sandbanks. The area had abundant natural resources, but the surrounding basin was depleted, and the region had experienced a depressed economy even before the hard times suffered throughout the nation in the Depression of the 1930s.

Politicians and developers of the project envisioned a growth of industry and water power in the Tennessee Valley, as well as the manufacture of low-priced fertilizer and public control of the valuable resources. Debates over whether the project area should be rented to private parties or be controlled by the government continued throughout the 1920s. Senator george w. norris of Nebraska was instrumental in the passage of measures by Congress advocating government control, but these bills did not receive presidential approval until 1933, when Roosevelt based his Tennessee Valley plan on the Norris proposals.

Roosevelt's Tennessee Valley Act authorized the establishment of a corporation owned by the federal government and directed by Arthur E. Morgan, the chairman, and Harcourt A. Morgan, and David Lilienthal. The early years of TVA were fraught with adversity, particularly when its constitutionality was questioned. Disputes between the directors and an investigation conducted by Congress hampered its initial achievements, but the TVA continued its work despite these difficulties.

The TVA succeeded in its projected goals. Since the development of its dams and reservoirs, the region has not been subjected to serious floods. The electrical system developed by the TVA afforded the region power at a low cost, and throughout the decades, power development has been extended to include coal and nuclear systems. The TVA also benefited agrarian interests by encouraging conservation, replenishment of forests, and agricultural and fertilizer research. Although the power program of the TVA is financially self-supporting today, other programs conducted by the authority are financed primarily by appropriations from Congress.

Further readings

Colignon, Richard A. 1997. Power Plays: Critical Events in the Institutionalization of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

Creese, Walter L. 1990. TVA's Public Planning: The Vision, the Reality. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press.

References in periodicals archive ?
Norris Dam is the first TVA dam to receive recognition on the National Registry.
Norris Dam is a magnificent physical reminder of this mission, and of the many ways in which TVA has contributed to a better quality of life for people living in the seven states of the Tennessee Valley.
Norris Dam was TVAs flagship project and the first in a series of dams that harnessed the wild waters of the Tennessee River system to control floods and provide inexpensive electric power.
To celebrate the dams 80th anniversary milestone, TVA hosted a free public celebration at Norris Dam July 29 and 30.
No studies examining land mollusks have been conducted within Norris Dam State Park.
The topography of Norris Dam State Park is one of dry ridges separated by moist ravines and hollows.
The discovery of sympatric occupation between CP and BR faunas at Norris Dam suggests that the RV was not a barrier for some species and is also holding pockets of isolated populations of these relict species.
Norris Dam State Park is located near the merging of the RV and the Cumberland Mountains.
Norris Dam State Park may also be serving as refuge for other faunal elements of the CP and BR.
The findings of this research indicate that further investigation of Norris Dam State Park and other areas throughout the RV is warranted.
It's remarkable, then, that at peak efficiency the new turbines at TVA's Norris Dam are 3.