KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ― The Tennessee Valley Authority today issued the final Environmental Impact Statement to guide its policy for floating houses on all TVA reservoirs throughout the Tennessee Valley. New regulations based on the policy will be published for review in the coming months.
TVA began studying the safety and environmental impacts of floating houses – non-navigable structures built primarily for habitation – following the recent construction of hundreds of the structures without required permits and proposals for the commercial development of entire communities built on public waters.
“Our primary focus is to properly manage the Tennessee River and its adjacent lands to ensure the safety of the general public and preserve the environmental quality of the area,” said James Adams, senior manager of recreation and shoreline management. “The land and water TVA manages is owned by the public, so it’s important that one group’s activities aren’t affecting others ability to enjoy these natural resources.”
Incorporating comments and suggestions submitted by the public online and during a series of meetings held throughout the Valley in 2015, the final EIS details the process that led to TVA’s decision to establish specific requirements for permitting existing floating houses that meet safety and environmental standards while prohibiting the construction of any new structures. Under TVA’s proposal, all floating houses must be removed from TVA reservoirs within 20 years.
If the policy is approved by TVA’s board of directors, owners of existing floating houses will have a designated timeframe to meet the new requirements in order to apply for the 20-year permit, or remove any non-permitted structures.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving more than 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.