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National Parks Conservation Ass'n v. Tennessee Valley Auth.

ELR Citation: 39 ELR 20084
Nos. No. 3:01-CV-71, (E.D. Tenn., 03/30/2009)

A district court held that environmental groups' citizen suit against the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for violating the Clean Air Act, the Tennessee state implementation plan, and related regulations in conjunction with its operation of coal-fired power plant in Bull Run, Tennessee, must proceed to trial. The groups argued that certain work done to the plant's economizer and finishing superheater in 1988 resulted in a "major modification" of the plant and, as a result, TVA is liable for failing to comply with the relevant prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) requirements. Conversely, TVA argued that the projects constituted routine maintenance, repair, and replacement (RMRR) and were, therefore, not major modifications that necessitated undergoing the PSD permitting process. Because neither side has established as a matter of law the applicability or non-applicability of the RMRR exclusion given the specific facts in this case, their motions for summary judgment on the RMRR issue were denied. Similarly, reasonable minds could differ as to whether the projects resulted in an increase of emissions, thereby subjecting them to certain state regulations. The parties motions' for summary judgment on this issue were therefore denied as well.