The Tva

The Tva

We live in​ a​ time when there is​ a​ lot of​ debate on how the​ government might take measures to​ assure reliable and​ affordable resources of​ power, particularly in​ light of​ our ongoing gas crisis .​
We also live in​ a​ time when we are trying to​ find our way as​ to​ our role in​ conservation and​ the​ proper way to​ handle the​ natural world so we can live green and​ not damage the​ environment .​
Thirdly, we live in​ a​ time of​ remarkable natural disasters such as​ devastating hurricanes, fires and​ floods.
All of​ these symptoms remind us of​ another time in​ our history when a​ certain area of​ the​ country was clearly a​ candidate for​ some form of​ government program to​ address all of​ these problems .​
This area is​ called the​ Tennessee Valley in​ northern Alabama .​
the​ area that was under particular study was known as​ Muscle Shoals because of​ a​ dramatic drop in​ elevation of​ the​ Tennessee river drops 140 feet in​ just under 30 miles which creates a​ series of​ dramatic and​ violent rapids and​ waterfalls that locals came to​ refer to​ as​ the​ Muscle Shoals .​
It is​ an​ area so well known that it​ was celebrated in​ the​ well known song Sweet Home Alabama with the​ verse…
Now Muscle Shoals has got the​ swampers .​
and​ they’ve been known to​ pick a​ song or​ two .​
Lord they get me off so much .​
They pick me up when I’m feeling blue .​
Now how about you?
As beautiful and​ exciting as​ the​ shoals were, they did create a​ number of​ problems that was causing disruption to​ the​ local population and​ holding back progress .​
This was an​ area that was highly susceptible to​ flooding due to​ the​ shoals .​
Moreover, the​ uncontrolled water flow made navigation of​ this segment of​ the​ Tennessee River virtually impossible which hindered commerce.
So the​ federal government organized a​ project to​ place strategic dams along the​ Tennessee River and​ implement other improvements to​ tame the​ shoals and​ create economic opportunity .​
the​ project that was named the​ Tennessee Valley Authority .​
the​ TVA was highly controversial because then, as​ now, people were highly resistant to​ government interference and​ big government projects, particularly those that altered the​ lifestyle of​ an​ entire region of​ the​ country.
The project was launched with the​ purchase of​ the​ land in​ 1913 .​
However, because of​ the​ opposition to​ allowing the​ federal government in​ to​ deal with local issues, the​ project floundered for​ decades .​
Finally President Roosevelt got the​ program moving with the​ Tennessee Valley Authority Act in​ 1933 .​
This was a​ remarkably well rounded piece of​ legislation that addressed environmental, economic, conservation and​ even defense concerns, all of​ which would be incorporated into the​ TVA plan.
What was unique in​ the​ Tennessee Valley Act that was uncommon in​ most government legislation was the​ directive that the​ TVA would set a​ high priority on improving both the​ economic life and​ the​ quality of​ life of​ residents of​ all areas affected by the​ project .​
But the​ transition that was necessary to​ achieve the​ goals of​ the​ TVA program was traumatic to​ the​ area .​
In some areas residents had to​ be relocated as​ lands were flooded during dam construction .​
the​ image of​ big brother coming in​ and​ destroying the​ lifestyle of​ regular Americans was a​ haunting concept that brought tremendous backlash against the​ project .​

But in​ an​ unusual demonstration of​ determination and​ courage, program administrators persevered .​
the​ result is​ that today the​ Tennessee Valley is​ prosperous and​ vibrant .​
the​ TVA program of​ reforestation and​ conservation has resulted in​ the​ integration of​ hydroelectric and​ nuclear power plants with the​ local environment .​
the​ floods have stopped and​ the​ area economy has gone through a​ boom because the​ TVA program has become one of​ the​ largest electricity generation projects in​ history.
The story of​ the​ TVA is​ a​ success story for​ a​ government program that was unusual because its whole purpose was to​ improve the​ lives of​ Americans and​ to​ put an​ end to​ devastating natural disasters before they occurred .​
It showed foresight, planning, concern for​ citizenry, an​ awareness of​ conservation issues and​ the​ courage of​ conviction that is​ absent in​ government in​ modern times .​
as​ such the​ TVA stands as​ an​ example we should look back on as​ a​ time when government stood for​ something and​ followed through when the​ going got tough .​
It is​ a​ lesson to​ us all on how things should work when our political system works correctly.

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