Federal judge rules TVA must limit tree-cutting policy
A TVA transmission tower rises above a grove of magnolia trees. (Photo: SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)
KNOXVILLE (AP) - A federal judge has ruled that Tennessee Valley Authority can't use its "15-foot rule" for removing trees until it submits an environmental impact statement.
Knoxville News Sentinel reports that residents of a Knoxville subdivision filed a lawsuit against the TVA in 2014, claiming the TVA changed its policy from cutting down trees that posed an immediate danger to power lines to the 15-foot rule, which removed "an extremely large number of trees." The rule involved trees that could potentially grow higher than 15 feet (5 meters).
Judge Tom Varlan ruled on Tuesday that by implementing the 15-foot rule, the TVA violated the National Environmental Policy Act. Varland also said the TVA must submit an EIS to be approved by the court.
TVA spokesman Scott Brooks says the TVA is working to complete the EIS.