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The Tennessee Valley Authority has taken a place in history as a remarkable in many ways. It created jobs, flood control, economic development, and access to inexpensive hydroelectric power to a region devastated by the Great Depression. President Roosevelt and many others saw private utilities and their "selfish purposes" as unfit to serve the broader public interests. It represented still-controversial government ownership in power generation. However, there is little doubt that the region thrives today due, in part, to these monumental efforts began decades ago.
Before & After
★ HISTORICAL SIDE NOTE ★
The Tellico Dam
"...an artifact of institutional momentum."
While FDR’s New Deal vision of the TVA the proved a legitimate role of the government in the economy, the grand scope and benefits of TVA dams gave way to smaller, more controversial projects by the 1960s. None were more divisive than the opposition to the Tellico Dam. Opponents brought a lawsuit under the Endangered Species Act. The case made it to the Supreme Court of the United States and by a 6-3 vote affirmed an injunction issued by a lower court to stop construction of the dam.
Supporters of the dam launched a very long and costly battle ending in mid-1979 when Sen. Howard Baker and Rep. John Duncan pushed an appropriations rider overruling ESA and other laws. President Jimmy Carter failed to veto override. The dam was completed, flooding locations of the 18th century Overhill Cherokee towns of Chota, Tanasi, Toqua, Tomotley, Citico, Mialoquo and Tuskegee, as well as several prehistoric sites dating to as early as the Archaic period. The port of Morganton was also submerged.
The Tellico Dam does not produce electricity.
From the lands obtained via eminent domain TVA began cooperation with developers to create a high-income resort-home development, Tellico Village, a community with three golf courses and a yacht and country club.
Indeed, the contrasts in ‘beneficiaries’ from Chickamauga to Tellico are mind-numbing.
Smith, Jason S. Why Privatizing the TVA Would Be a Dam Shame
Wilson, Robert. Tellico Dam Still Generating Debate
Knoxnews.com, Knoxville News Sentinel, 4/13/2008