On November 9, 2020, TVA issued a final environmental assessment (EA) and finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for its fiscal year 2021 proposal to perform routine vegetation management on right-of-ways that have been previously and continuously maintained on a recurring cycle.
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and the Act’s implementing regulations promulgated by the Council on Environmental Quality ([CEQ]; 40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 1500-1508), federal agencies are required to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of their proposed actions. This EA was prepared to assess the potential impacts of TVA’s Proposed Action on the environment in accordance with CEQ’s and TVA’s procedures for implementing NEPA (18 CFR 1318)(TVA 2019).
The EA evaluates the site-specific effects of vegetation management on about one-third of the transmission system within 12 managed sectors. The management of vegetation within the rights-of-way is needed to ensure the transmission system can continue to provide reliable power and to prevent outages related to incompatible vegetation. The EA tiers from the programmatic Transmission System Vegetation Management environmental impact statement released in 2019 which evaluated and analyzed TVA’s vegetation management program.
Vegetation management would utilize mostly herbicides (90%). Other methods include mechanical (6% - i.e., brush hogs, equipment mounted saws) and manual (4% - i.e., chainsaw, handsaw). Maintenance of trees would be assessed using aerial inspection, ground inspections, and as-needed field inspections. Compatible trees and shrubs would be allowed in areas maintained actively by others. As per the Sherwood v. TVA court-ordered injunction, only trees identified as an immediate hazard would be cleared until the injunction has been lifted.
A draft EA was released for a 14-day public comment period on August 28, 2020. The availability of the Draft EA was announced through area media outlets and the Draft EA was posted on TVA’s website. Comments on the Draft EA were accepted through September 11, 2020 via TVA’s website, mail, and e-mail.
Finding of No Significant Impact
Final Environmental Assessment
More information on this environmental review can be obtained from:
NEPA Project Manager
1101 Market Street, BR 2C
Chattanooga, TN 37402