Talk:Tennessee Valley Authority

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Coal plants v. nuclear plants v. hydro plants[edit]

Can anyone give a breakdown not on the number of plants, but perhaps on the amount of energy generated by the Authority's respective coal, nuclear, and hydro plants? (talk) 12:12, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Structural suggestion[edit]

I'd like to focus for a moment on organization of the article, which is meandering right now (if not lurching!) I believe it would help to start things off with a historical section (after the intro) dealing with “The Creation of TVA.” This could lay out historically, rather than philosophically, the motivating issues and events (some already addressed in various places), such as: the impetus of the Great Depression (joblessness and economic collapse), the New Deal spirit of government activism, the poverty and backwardness of the Tennessee Valley area, utility holding companies and calls for reform (including advocacy for public power), the role of Sen George Norris, opposition to TVA's creation, the Supreme Court decision. Following this, I think it would be most logical to pursue the subsequent history of the agency from the 1930s to present. The narrative text might then conclude with a section, possibly called something like “Assessment,” succinctly and even-handedly covering major pro and con assessments of TVA. Does this seem like a workable basic structure? I know I'll need to do more research before I can be a very useful contributor, but I will try to do so. RickDC 16:45, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

A problem with argumentation[edit]

The following addition is, I think, a case of argumentation that isn't appropriate for an encyclopedia article: One study says that public utilities are inadequate on maintainence. They note that federally owned power systems spends significantly less than private systems on this. They report that the TVA "spends only 5% of its revenues on maintainence." And, they say that as a consequence ability to produce power suffers. Privately owned damns produce 20% more electricity than federally owned ones. They also report that TVA charges more to its preferred customers than private utilities charge to the same class of customers.(CBO, Should the Federal GovernmentSell Electricity)

It's perfectly normal for encyclopedia articles to have supporting and opposing arguments in regard to the the subject --especially for Wikipedia articles. On Wikipedia, they're usually in a section called "Criticism" though. Maybe we should make such a section. RJII 06:01, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Sounds like a good idea. I think a your suggestion of a "Criticism" section would work. Some of the "pro-public-power" paragraphs also seems problematic and should probably be similarly separated from the neutral text.

the "criticism" should involve major figures (Wendell Willkie, Barry Goldwater). That will require some research by an editor. What we do not want is editors to propound anti-socialist rhetoric here, or quote obscure critics solely because of their POV. Rjensen 06:29, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
LOL. What happened to the desire for "scholary sources" that you've been advocating in the FDR article? The study I put in is certainly scholary. And, the book (The TVA Idea) I put in is well cited by scholars --it's a classic. RJII 06:36, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
Wiki's policy is that editors are NOT ALLOWED to insert their personal POV. Please abide that ironclad rule, even if you don't like socialism. Rjensen 07:13, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't insert my own POV in articles. I insert the POV of credible sources. If I have a POV and there's no source for it, I'm certainly not going to inject that into an article. If sourced information happens to favor a particular POV, that's fine --it's certainly no violation of a Wikipedia policy. All sources are the POV of the sources. RJII 07:14, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
You seem to cherry pick your sources to fit your personal POV. Are you in fact committed to Wiki goal of no POV in the article or not? Rjensen 07:17, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
Of course I am. But, you're misinterpreting the policy if you think that the POV of sources can't be presented. You certainly seem to cherry pick sources to support your POV. RJII 07:18, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
POV would be for the editorial to say that X is good or bad. But it's NPOV for the editorial to say that a given source says that X is good or bad. RJII 07:21, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
well good, we're on the same wavelength. TVA generated as much controversy as electricity, and there are plenty of solid sources to use. Start with Hoover's Memoirs vol 3 ch 40. Please avoid offbeat sources--they weaken Wiki's claims for reliability and quality. Rjensen 07:23, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
I haven't given any "offbeat" sources. I provided a scholarly study and a classic book on the subject by Dean Russell. Anyway, there is no rule against "offbeat" sources --whatever that is. RJII 07:26, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
yes Wiki insists on using the most reliable sources. Those that have been vetted by experts qualify; those that are self-published do not qualify. Why should we piddle with junk here? There is plenty of solid material on all issues re TVA. Rjensen 08:49, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
What "junk" are you talking about? What "junk" sources have I brought into the article? RJII 16:48, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Argumentation and wider sourcing[edit]

I tried re-writing the 1st two paragraphs in a neutral way. The article has two main problems right now, as I see it. First, although there may rightly be reference to controversial feelings about TVA, an encyclopedia article shouldn't be a place to argue positions, and it seems to me the article right now does cross the line into argumentation. Second, much of the history section is too reliant on verbatim quotes from the TVA Web site; it needs wider sourcing.

RickDC is exactly correct. Let's keep private agenda POV out of this encyclopedia. Rjensen 05:04, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
And only public agenda in? RJII 05:13, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Damn dams[edit]

Look folks, I don't know where you're from, but I know people whose grandmama and pa were flooded out by the TVA as part of its scheme to straighten out certain "backards" parts of the United States, i.e. Appalachia.

This article sounds like an ad for the agency, which wastes lots of money, and stole a bunch of land. I'm not denying that the TVA does good things, but its a hell of a lot more controversial than you'd think after reading this teensy piece.

Difficulties come from farmers' mistrust? Perhaps there's some difficulty in flooding out whole towns and taking peoples land. I'm not joking. --Defenestrate 23:41, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

Well if you could relise what the farmers, miners and loggers before 1920 had done to the land in the first place then you would see this in a different light. they had destroyed vast amounts of land through poor farming techniques and the mining had cleared land and the raw metels that they didnt need were left on spoil heaps, which when rained upon seped into the soils and river poisening any organic matter that it came into contact with. so as you can see the people of this time had really screwed the land over so it was in the best interests of the land and people(they were losing money constantly) for the TVA to step in.

Simpler language[edit]

"the agency is still extant" -> "the agency still exists"?


POV - 'government owned means of production' is by no means an exclusively socialist concept. Nationalisation of (say) coinage far pre-dates socilism. It would be more accurate to describe it as Statist.

I disagree. I think the TVA pretty much fits the textbook definition of a socialist entity, and in fact I've seen it described as such in actual textbooks. Statist just seems like a neutered term designed to avoid controversy among people who equate socialism with the bad guys in the Rambo movies. -- 19:16, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

The article sounds like an advertisement because that last half of it is copied and pasted from the TVA website.

In need of major work[edit]

This article needs major work. The flow and logic of the writing is awkward and painful to read. So much is missing, yet the article rambles on and on. I began an attempt to clean it up, but could only manage the opening part. Egads! Pfly 05:56, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Also, I came here looking for links to the various TVA dams, reservoirs, and other projects, and found no such links. That would be a nice addition. It seems that many of the TVA projects don't have pages on wikipedia at all. If I get the chance and inspiration, I'll try to add some, Pfly 05:58, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

I came here as a reader, and I would add that there is too much written (and specifically too much detail) before the Contents section. I don't think the criticism about maintenance, for example, belongs in what should be a just-the-basic-facts opening section of the article. emw 05:07, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Is it legal?[edit]

Hi, I am doing a reseach project on the TVA Act of 1933. I am curious as to how it is legal that the TVA, a federal goverment agency that pays no income taxes is allowed to sell power to millions of people and put smaller companies out of busniess. Any help would be appreciated.

It is my understanding that the TVA legislation treats power as a public utility rather than a service provided by any company. Usually utility companies have government sanctioned monopolies; having multiple utility companies would be impractical (imagine having 20 different companies either running their own power/water/cable lines, or all maintaining one set of power/water/cable lines and the blame game that would ensue). I hope this helps, but keep in mind that talk pages are for discussing improvements to articles, not to explain things about the subject. Thanks! /Blaxthos 18:42, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

The assertion that TVA is a federal government agency that pays no income taxes is highly misleading. 1) TVA is NOT a federal government agency. It is a "corporate agency and instrumentality of the US" that is not-for profit. 2) TVA is mandated to provide payments to local governments in-lieu of taxes. It's right there in the TVA Act. You can also see their 10-Q filings with the SEC, p. 11 under Rates. (talk) 19:39, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

Controversy - EPA[edit]

There is no mention of the controversy of the FDA's virtual immunity from the EPA in regards to air pollution. In fact, the word "pollution" doesn't show up in the article at all. While I am no expert on the issue, it is often mentioned in the media and is currently the subject of a Federal Lawsuit ([North Carolina vs. TVA])

Along with the other issues mention (readability, references, etc.) how can we lure "experts" on the subject to contribute? Arx Fortis 05:41, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

will you put more pictures on this page


What was the enviromental impact? did it stop any fish runs? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 18:33, 4 March 2007 (UTC).

Who cares. It meant more people could have a future. People are the dominant force on this planet.-- (talk) 16:42, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

The environmental impact, if discussed in reliable sources, will likely be relevant to the article, regardless of 89's beliefs Nil Einne (talk) 04:37, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

More ematreial needed pertaining to TVA flood control[edit]

  • This article definetly needs more content pertaining to TVA flood control.

Copyright issues[edit]

There's a large part of the History section that needs to be re-written to conform with copyright problems. For example, this is from the 1940s subsection:

And this is from a section with the same header at the TVA's History site:

The History section seems to be largely lifted from this page, with only slight modifications. This could be troublesome. Sidatio 16:34, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

The History section starts out with this line: "Much of this information comes from, a government website and thus in the public domain." which says it all. All US Government websites are in the public domain, and there is no copyright issue. However, using other sources in Wikipedia is often preferable to preserve NPOV and to increase the depth of detail provided.--DThomsen8 (talk) 00:07, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Copyright and status[edit]

Inasmuch as there are serious copyright questions here, I am only going to grade this as start class for purposes of the Alabama Wikiproject. JodyB yak, yak, yak 23:08, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

Adding footnote[edit]

I couldn't seem to do this properly. The fact that Ronald Reagan hosted "Death Valley Days" in the mid-60's is so widely known I can't imagine why it was tagged with "Citation needed" in the first place, but I easily found a reference, I just couldn't get the formatting right on the Wiki page. Yopienso (talk) 21:28, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

I fixed the format. However, the item that needs a source is NOT the fact that Ronald Reagan hosted "Death Valley Days". Do you have a source for the information (which is mostly implied, not stated explicitly) that GE fired him for attacking TVA? --Orlady (talk) 00:21, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Oh! Well, in that case, we need a little rewrite. Here's a quote and link from a PBS site. "In 1962, GE, concerned that Reagan's conservative politics made him a liability, fired him for criticizing the Tennessee Valley Authority as an example of "big government." That year, Reagan officially changed his voter registration to the Republican Party." Thanks for your help, Orlady. Yopienso (talk) 01:53, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Accounting issues[edit]

In the CPA studies we reviewed accounting problems connected with the TVA. See for example :

  • Tennessee Valley Authority: Information on Lease-Leaseback and Other Financing Arrangements: [1]
  • The TVA and Its Power-Accounting Problems E. L. Kohler The Accounting Review, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Jan., 1948), pp. 44-62
  • Cost Accounting in TVA Forest Nurseries Authors: Olive, Conro L.1; Umland, Charles B.1

In the article this is not discussed at all. Maybe a CPA could elaborate on those problems? --YoavD (talk) 05:39, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Reagan re-write[edit]

I re-wrote part of the political football section. Previously the article claimed Reagan was fired by GE Theater in 1964, but that program was discontinued in 1962. As such, the Death Valley Days note & Borax ad are not especially relevant to this article. It still needs some clean-up, but at least now I believe the article is (slightly) more accurate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:17, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

The long quote concerning the TVA is definitely not from Reagan's famous "Time for Choosing" speech. I couldn't find the actual source of this quote, but reading the transcript or watching the video footage (available from the source link or the Reagan Library website) will verify this fact. It's true that the "Time for choosing" speech did catapult his political career and that it certainly did contain criticism of government programs though. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:29, 21 November 2011 (UTC)


just thought i'd put this out there but it appears for this or at least some parts to have been copied and pasted from this website website in th section that talks about the 1930's at the very least. i have an account just can't remember the username —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:36, 11 May 2008 (UTC) nevermind found the username —Preceding unsigned comment added by OoPICowner 123 (talkcontribs) 23:50, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

Since the TVA is a federal agency, their work is probably public domain, although the website's Legal Notices page sure makes it seem otherwise. The key sentence seems to be: "All trademarks, logos, service marks, and copyrighted material contained on this Web site ("marks") are the property of TVA." The page copied from doesn't appear to have any copyright notice. Pfly (talk) 00:05, 12 May 2008 (UTC)


Umm...I know for a fact that Nickajack Dam has a lock. I have seen a boat go through it. Also, there is no Raccoon Mtn. Dam, it is a pumped storage facility, quite a difference. --Tholcomb (talk) 20:49, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

What's the problem regarding Nickajack? The article Nickajack Dam tells about the lock. As for Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant, it looks like your issue is with the way the list is presented in the TVA article. I'll see about fixing it. --Orlady (talk) 22:56, 13 September 2008 (UTC) Added: Ah, I missed the footnote denoting dams with locks. As it happens, many TVA dams have locks, so the footnote (which was applied to only one dam) was very inaccurate. I deleted it. --Orlady (talk) 23:00, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Someone add the coal ash spill?[edit]

Could one of you involved in this please add the recent coal ash spill near Knoxville? It's turned out to be 3 times as large as originally estimated, and it was already being called the largest environmental disaster of its kind before. Thanks! --JT (talk) 03:55, 27 December 2008 (UTC) (talk) 18:02, 30 November 2014 (UTC) The only posting from 2013 below all others 2010 No mention is made of the presidential directive to go to dry for all tva. Radiation

How much radioactivity was contained in the fly ash? US coal ash is something like 230 to 2100 Bq/kg. Spill was 1.1 billion US gallons, and slurry has a density of 540 to 860 kg/m3, so total of 2.2e9 kg, or 500-7000 GBq? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:30, 28 August 2013 (UTC) the above is from the talk page of wiki kingston fossil plamt coal fly ash slurry spill (talk) 17:41, 30 November 2014 (UTC) In continuation of above request: Could your readers be informed of Pres Obama's Presidential fiat that the TVA would go to dry storage. Not much is made of the billions of gallons of wetcoal surry storage on the hills of TN. No mention is made of how the spill was cleaned up or how it was disposed of.

Could someone also add how TVA is charging a percentage on each person's electricity bill. They call this charge a 'TVA Fuel Cost Adjustment'. When I called my electric company about this matter, they stated it is a charge because gasoline has went up. In actuality, gas prices have went DOWN. I believe this charge is to pay off the spill. It is known that the residences in Kingston have been paid an undisclosed settlement by TVA, which TVA is collecting from all the other Tennessee Residents. It's simply NOT FAIR. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:54, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

In the section "TVA in popular culture", Does the citation support the assertion?[edit]

I have the TVA article on my watchlist and noticed edits to the popular culture section. The edit inserted language that makes it sound as if most songs about the TVA were critical of the project (whereas the previous edit perhaps gave the opposite impression).

"In the 1930s, the building of Norris Dam and the changes it brought to the region inspired films, books, stage plays, and songs. Folk songs from the construction period _rarely_ express enthusiasm for the dam project brought to the region. _Many more condemn the TVA for the losses it brought to local farmers._[17]" (underscores show edits)

The source cited prior to the edit remains the same: (

The cited website mentions several aspects of popular culture associated with the projects and scholars of this culture, but it does not seem to offer clear support of the sentences as they are now written.

Anybody with more knowledge of the subject and sources out there? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Johnfravolda (talkcontribs) 18:07, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Recreational facilities[edit]

The Tennessee Valley Authority Police article says "protection for Tennessee Valley Authority properties and employees as well as the 100 million annual users of TVA recreation facilities." However the fact the TVA has any recreational facilities let alone some used by 100 million users is not discussed at all in this article. I presume these are the dams and perhaps rivers and land surrounding the dams but of course it should not be necessary to presume Nil Einne (talk) 04:27, 18 September 2009 (UTC) Savannnah's World! Is awsome and spontaniose —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:41, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

1970s and 1980s[edit]

It uses words such as the chairman "claimed" and "he said". It needs some sources on what happened under him. Him claiming several things doesn't tell the reader anything useful. Crzyclarks (talk) 19:10, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Tennessee Valley Authority/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.


Mid importance. The TVA is well known in the stae but the topic is not necessarily of interest for an out-of-state audience.

I changed the rating to high. Maybe you think of the TVA as a power company (whose service area is, BTW, not limited to Tennessee), but that's a narrow view. The establishment of the TVA during the New Deal was a unique and important federal experiment (part of the New Deal) to stimulate development in a depressed region. It caused major changes in the state, and is still a unique federal corporation. It would have an article in any print encyclopedia.--orlady 01:35, 28 April 2007 (UTC)


not yet assessed

Last edited at 01:35, 28 April 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 07:48, 30 April 2016 (UTC)