Tennessee Valley Authority

(redirected from TVA)
Also found in: Dictionary, Acronyms, 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.

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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
EDT: Capitals @ Blue Jackets (NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports)
The conflict represented within each image mirrors the battle TVA must fight as an agency: to further its development of the Tennessee Valley and, at the same time, preserve both the agency's original vision and the natural environment of the region.
TVA company execs feel the their media leveraging and buying connections now leads the industry and will allow them to secure some of the best rates available for their clients.
It matures 90 days following the date hereof, with an option to renew for a further 90-day period at the request of TVA Group, and provides for voluntary prepayments without premium or penalty, the company said.
In a 2011 report listing deficit-reduction ideas, the Congressional Budget Office asserted that the TVA's 9 million customers receive "implicit subsidies."
In January, the TVA allowed media members to watch workers unload and prepare new nuclear fuel rods for an upcoming refueling at the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant in Soddy-Daisy.
With a 50:1 turndown, the TVA flow meter provides accurate measurements down to 1/50th of its maximum flow rate, ensuring all steam energy consumption can be accounted for.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (Tennessee DEC) issued an order assessing $11.5 million in penalties against the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for what the agency called "the catastrophic coal ash release" to the Emory River Dec.