Monday, November 9, 2009

Friends Of Tims Ford v. TVA

Nov 6: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, Case No. 08-5706. Plaintiff-Appellant Friends of Tims Ford (FTF) appeals from the district court’s dismissal of its case on summary judgment for want of standing. FTF is an unincorporated association of individuals, families, and homeowners’ associations, who own property adjoining the Tims Ford Reservoir (Reservoir) or in adjacent communities, and are concerned about the environmental impact of land development near the Reservoir and the environmental impact of increased boating on, and community use of, Reservoir water. FTF seeks declaratory and injunctive relief against the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and James Fyke, in his official capacity as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment Conservation (TDEC), for alleged violations of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) by TVA and TDEC in their implementation of the Tims Ford Reservoir Land Management and Disposition Plan (LMDP), based on the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) prepared by TVA and TDEC, and for violations of the TVA Act of 1933 (TVA Act) in the development of two parcels of land, Fanning Bend, and a parcel conveyed to the City of Winchester, Parcel 79B. FTF has also brought state law claims against TDEC.

The Appeals Court agreed with the district court and said, "Because we find that FTF has failed to demonstrate standing to bring this case, we affirm the district court’s decision to dismiss this action without prejudice. The Sixth Circuit further explained its decision saying, ". . .we are compelled to find that FTF has failed its burden to demonstrate standing. Under this theory of harm, FTF has failed to allege future injury that could be redressed by the requested declaratory or injunctive relief, as its two members only allege direct harm from already-constructed community boat docks, yet seek: (1) issuance of a declaratory judgment that implementation of the FEIS/LMDP violates the TVA Act and NEPA; and (2) an injunction against unidentified future construction. . . Furthermore, because FTF’s suit does not additionally seek the destruction or modification of the community boat docks, nor does it seek, as noted by the district court, 'remedial measures to counteract or prevent the harms allegedly caused by the current docks,' there is no value to a declaratory judgment stating that TVA and TDEC violated NEPA and the TVA Act. . . Thus, FTF lacks standing to bring its claim alleging ongoing harm to its members’ aesthetic and recreational enjoyment of the Reservoir."

Access the complete opinion (
click here).