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Posted by Tom L. on July 27, 2001 at 21:13:25:

> T V A T O D A Y
> Friday, July 27, 2001
> McCullough, RRSC Members Discuss Reservoir Drawdown Schedules
> Chairman McCullough and other TVA executive officers met in
> Chattanooga last week with the Regional Resource Stewardship Council's
> Integrated River Management subcommittee and other RRSC members.
> The purpose of the meeting was to discuss delaying the
> target date for the unrestricted drawdown of TVA-managed reservoirs beyond
> Aug. 1 this year. The 20-member RRSC, created more than a year ago to
> advise TVA on the management of natural resources in the Tennessee Valley,
> had suggested that TVA consider extending summer reservoir levels later
> into August this year.
> "We had a meaningful discussion with the council members who
> were present," says Chairman McCullough on behalf of the Board. "They
> made many important points, and we appreciate the hard work of the IRM
> subcommittee and the council's diligence.
> "We recognize the value in the council's efforts, and we
> appreciate the many hours each member has spent studying the issues and
> giving careful consideration to the views expressed by the other members."
> "TVA staff and the Board value RRSC recommendations, and we
> are confident that TVA's performance will be enhanced by the
> implementation of many of the council's suggestions."
> After careful consideration, McCullough says the Board has
> decided not to delay this year's drawdown schedule, since it is not clear
> this would be in the overall best interest of all TVA stakeholders. In
> making this decision, the Board reviewed the many diverse and often
> competing benefits TVA stakeholders expect from the integrated operation
> of the Tennessee River system.
> McCullough says the Board believes the best course to take
> is to initiate an objective study process to gain current, factual data to
> determine optimal lake-level policy.
> "We determined it would be unwise to change the system's
> operation at this time," says McCullough. "Without adequate planning or
> the benefit of a study, TVA lacks the proper data on which to base such a
> significant change as moving the drawdown dates. We think it would be
> unwise to change the schedule - particularly this year, given the drought
> conditions - without a fair, balanced review based on sound business
> logic."
> This is the driest year in the Tennessee Valley in 11 years,
> and it has caused several water-quality and water-temperature problems.
> The Board is continuing to study the IRM subcommittee
> recommendation that TVA perform a review of its reservoir-operating
> policy. The RRSC subcommittees submitted this and other recommendations
> to the Board in May. The Board will discuss these recommendations with
> RRSC members at the council's Aug. 29 meeting.

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