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Eye Opener: More Woes for TVA

By Ed O'Keefe

An aerial view of homes destroyed when a retention pond wall collapsed at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Fossil Plant in Harriman, Tenn. (AP)

Eye Opener

Happy Wednesday! Problems continue for the Tennessee Valley Authority, the federally-backed corporation that provides services to seven southern states. At issue is the behavior of company officials after last December's big coal ash spill at the Kingston Fossil Plant:

"The utility's independent watchdog found TVA management has not accepted responsibility for decisions leading to the catastrophe. Instead, the report found, officials limited the scope of an investigation into the cause of the disaster in an apparent effort to shore up its legal defense in lawsuits," reports the Knoxville News Sentinel.

"The utility's actions, the report concluded, were fueled by a cultural resistance to change that looked at ash as insignificant."

An inspector general's report concludes that TVA leadership failed for more than 20 years to heed warnings that might have prevented the massive coal ash spill in Tennessee. It allowed company lawyers to stifle a $3 million study into the disaster's cause to limit its legal liability.

"The report also says dikes at coal storage sites at other TVA plants and elsewhere around the country could be at risk of collapse similar to the one that sent 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash spilling over 300 acres on Dec. 28," notes the Tennessean.

TVA has faced other Eye-opening investigations this year: A March inspector general report revealed that staffers made millions of dollars of questionable purchases on credit cards provided by the government-backed corporation, including X-Boxes and TiVos for an employee awards program and alcohol, beer and wine for training sessions and other meetings.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | July 29, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Oversight  
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