According to the statement, TVA's environmental assessment found the improvements to the plant would have no significant environmental impact "in large part because the new Gallatin air quality controls will result in significantly lower emissions and further improvement in Tennessee Valley air quality, which is currently cleaner than it has been in decades."
The utility is required to either shutter the plant or retrofit it after a 2011 agreement settled a lawsuit by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, three environmental groups and the states of Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina. Those groups and states had claimed violations of the Clean Air Act.
The Tennessee Environmental Council, Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association, Sierra Club, and Center for Biological Diversity filed the suit over the Gallatin plant in federal court in Nashville on Thursday. They are asking the court to enjoin TVA from taking any further action to upgrade the Gallatin plant until the utility comes into compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.
TVA is the nation's largest public utility, supplying power to about 9 million people in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.