Citizens to rally Wednesday in Knoxville to ‘Take Back TVA’

TVA's Board continues to block public listening sessions, but Tennessee Valley residents won't be silenced

August 16, 2021
Contact: Amy Rawe, 865-235-1448, [email protected]; Rick Herron, Tennessee Valley Energy Democracy Movement, 731-819-6955, [email protected]

Knoxville, Tenn. – As the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Board meets on Wednesday, August 18, it continues an 18-month streak of not holding public listening sessions during which residents can speak directly to the Board. In response, concerned citizens and advocates will rally outside TVA’s headquarters in Knoxville to raise their voices on key issues the Board is currently considering and call on TVA to hold virtual public listening sessions to hear their concerns.

Legislative bodies and agencies across the country have adopted virtual participation and public comment sessions in response to COVID-19, but TVA still hasn’t opened the door to public participation – even virtually – during its Board meetings.

This Wednesday’s “Take Back TVA” rally will feature a reading of demands for TVA and a number of speakers will amplify pressing issues for TVA and the region. Local musicians will also perform and the event will include marches through Market Square.

WHEN: Wednesday, August 18, 6 – 7:30 PM ET

WHERE: Outside TVA Towers in Market Square, downtown Knoxville. Masks are strongly encouraged, and the outdoor location allows for social distancing.
Virtual live streaming on the Tennessee Valley Energy Democracy Movement Facebook page.

WHO: Tennessee Valley Energy Democracy Movement in partnership with Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Appalachian Voices, Center for Biological Diversity, the Sunrise Movement, and other local organizations. Speakers include:

  • Julie Bledsoe, concerned citizen and advocate, wife of Kingston coal ash worker
  • Councilwoman Amelia Parker, Knoxville City Council
  • Gabriela Sarri-Tobar, Energy Justice Campaigner, Center for Biological Diversity
  • Maggie Shober, Director of Utility Reform, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

A powerful “People’s TVA Hearing,” hosted recently by a diverse coalition of environmental and advocacy organizations, made it clear that Tennessee Valley residents want more say over their public utility, particularly given major decisions the Board is facing, such as:

  • Restoring public listening sessions to hear from the people TVA serves,
  • Committing to 100% clean energy by 2030,
  • Retiring aging coal plants and not building new fossil gas plants,
  • Protecting coal ash workers and communities that may face exposure to coal ash, and
  • Disposing of coal ash properly with public health and safety as the utmost priority.

Founded in the 1930s as a 100% renewable energy-powered utility charged with promoting environmental stewardship, job creation, and innovation, TVA has strayed considerably from that original mission. It’s time for the nation’s largest public utility to once again serve the Tennessee Valley with public power values.

About the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Since 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy has worked to promote responsible and equitable energy choices to ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at

About the Tennessee Valley Energy Democracy Movement
Convened in 2019, the Tennessee Valley Energy Democracy Movement is a collaborative of organizations, community groups and citizens working to bring democracy to the Tennessee Valley Authority energy system and transform it from the bottom up. Learn more at