This morning, Anderson County Commission Chairman Tracy Wandell, in a lengthy post on his Facebook page, responded to TVA’s announcement Monday that it is recommending that the Bull Run Fossil Plant in Claxton be shut down by 2023. The full post is reprinted below.
(Anderson County Commission Chairman Tracy Wandell via Facebook) Bull Run Fossil (BRF)Steam plant has been in the press lately and also recently discussed by TVA to the City of Oak Ridge. I am very appreciative for the City of Oak Ridge to call for this meeting. I am also very appreciative of all of the County Commissioners who were in attendance as well as our other elected officials. No one was asked to attend but rather these individuals understand the importance of TVA Bull Run and what this means to our County and Region. Mayor Gooch and the Oak Ridge City council asked great questions. Mayor Gooch also gave me the chance to address TVA and I expressed my concerns regarding the potential closure of BRF. It became apparent to me during these discussions that there seems to be a real possibility that TVA could remove old coal ash storage and place into the proposed new landfill area.
This is the property TVA purchased land from our former home and land owners. Yes, the new landfill would be lined and met EPA requirements. However, the issue to me is that Bull Run would possibly shut down leaving our Community and future generations with now 3 large mountains of ash storage and no operating plant, loss of jobs and tax revenue. Our County Commission passed a resolution roughly 2 years ago in support of TVA building a Natural Gas plant at the BRF site to keep some jobs here and also keep the power here. This would also eliminate the production of coal ash. TVA has retrofitted other Coal fired plants and I believe they could do the same thing at BRF if the TVA Board would consider and approve.
I want to be very clear in that TVA BRF has always been a great Corporate citizen to our Community and County. Many of you may not be aware that the employees at BRF have for over 25 plus years donated Christmas baskets and Thanksgiving baskets to our Community every year. These types of gestures are not taken for granted and have made the difference in many lives over the years for the people and children in our Community. I will be traveling today to Chattanooga to attend the public listening session before TVA’s Board meeting tomorrow. This is not a funded trip by our County but a trip I am funding to ensure the TVA board understands our concerns and that we are represented. Everyone has different ideas and different concerns and I certainly understand that.
In my discussions and listening to our Community it seems to me that our Community should be at the table when a decision is made to the future of this Community and Region. If TVA will not build a Natural Gas plant and the only other option is to shut BRF down then I would suggest TVA to remediate the entire foot print of BRF property and also remove all of the coal ash off site to another location. Once the property is reclaimed to its original state best as possible it would be good to have the property available for potential new homes, industrial, or a school. If any of you have questions or comments please feel free to leave them here, text or call me at 865-388-0921. You may also email me direct at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you for your time reading and your input.