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Cooper Support of Court Appeal Helps Prevent Electric Rate Increases

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-05) applauded the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that stopped the state of North Carolina from imposing its emission standards on TVA power plants in Tennessee. Cooper urged TVA to appeal a 2009 US District Court ruling in favor of North Carolina, and joined in filing an amicus brief on behalf of TVA.

"This is a big win for Tennesseans," said Cooper. "The court decision overturned the unjust ruling for North Carolina that would have burdened TVA with nuisance lawsuits, raising our electric rates unfairly. I worked hard to persuade TVA to appeal the lower court ruling and I am glad I did. Electric customers will be glad too."

In 2006, North Carolina sued TVA over air pollution blowing into North Carolina from power plants in Tennessee and Alabama. TVA was operating in compliance with Federal and Tennessee regulations and was in the process of meeting enhanced emissions standards scheduled by EPA.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper (no relation) argued that because the plants were within 100 miles of the North Carolina border, they needed to abide by the North Carolina's emissions standards. US District Judge Lacy Thornburg ruled in favor of North Carolina on January 13th, 2009. TVA claimed that the drastic timetable for changes would cause significant rate hikes for TVA customers.

Congressman Cooper persuaded TVA Chairman Duncan to appeal the ruling and joined in filing an amicus brief just days before the appeal deadline. Chairman Duncan pursued the appeal and Cooper convinced seven Members of the Tennessee Congressional Delegation to join in signing the brief. Today, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the District Court ruling, thereby protecting Tennessee ratepayers from significant electric rate increases.

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