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For Immediate Release, November 30, 2012

Contact : Tierra Curry, Center for Biological Diversity, (928) 522-3681
Mary Mastin, Tennessee Environmental Council, (931) 268-2938

Tennessee Valley Authority Urged to Abandon Plan to Shut Down Hatchery for Endangered Fish, Mussels

NASHVILLE, Tenn.— The Tennessee Valley Authority has announced plans to shut down an endangered-species propagation facility housed at the Gallatin Fossil Plant in order to install pollution-control equipment and dump coal-combustion waste at the site of the aquatic hatchery. The Cumberland River Aquatic Center rears lake sturgeon, alligator gar and many species of endangered mussels to be released into habitats on the Cumberland River; a coalition of environmental groups submitted comments today urging the Authority to save the much-needed aquatic center.

“The Cumberland River Aquatic Center is one of the most successful hatcheries in the country for endangered mussels and fish, and we’re appalled that the TVA wants to shut it down to make room for coal ash and equipment,” said Tierra Curry, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity.

The Tennessee Valley Authority, a federally owned corporation, announced its plans to shutter the aquatic center in an “Environmental Assessment” document required to install air-pollution-control equipment at the plant. The corporation has already ordered the aquatic center to be dismantled without undertaking legally required public review.

“TVA is required by law to consider citizen input, but they began moving forward with shutting down this successful aquatic center before the public comment period even closed,” said Mary Mastin, a board member of the Tennessee Environmental Council.

The coalition of environmental groups is calling on the Authority to save the aquatic center and to transition the plant away from burning fossil fuels. The upgrades on the plant’s pollution equipment will cost more than $1 billion. The groups are urging TVA to spend the money on energy efficiency and clean-energy alternatives instead of extending the life of the coal-fired power plant.

The groups opposing the closure of the aquatic facility are the Center for Biological Diversity, Tennessee Environmental Council, Southern Environmental Law Center and others.

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