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Tennessee Valley Authority Act

The Tennessee Valley Authority Act was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1933 to establish the TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY (TVA), an autonomous federal corporate agency responsible for the integrated development of the Tennessee River basin. The concept of the TVA Act (16 U.S.C.A. § 831 et seq.) initially appeared in the early 1920s, when Senator GEORGE W. NORRIS introduced a plan to have the government assume the operation of the Wilson Dam and other installations the government had constructed at Muscle Shoals, Alabama, for national security reasons during WORLD WAR I. President CALVIN COOLIDGE and President HERBERT HOOVER, in 1928 and 1931, respectively, vetoed the legislation. In 1933, President FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT reworked the legislation, and Congress passed the TVA Act. This version significantly expanded the scope of the previous legislation in that it propelled the federal government into a comprehensive scheme of regional planning and development. This marked the first time one agency was directed to coordinate the entire resource development of a major region, and the endeavor served as the prototype for similar river projects.

The TVA was responsible for resolving the problems arising from serious floods, substantially eroded land, a lackluster economy, and continual emigration from the region. It has revitalized the economy of the Tennessee River basin, particularly by the construction of reservoirs and multipurpose dams. Other noteworthy projects of the TVA, executed in conjunction with local authorities, have included malaria control; tree planting; the development of mineral, fish, and wildlife resources; land conservation; educational and social programs; and the construction of recreational facilities adjacent to reservoir banks.


Colignon, Richard A. 1997. Power Plays: Critical Events in the Institutionalization of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

Creese, Walter L. 1990. TVA's Public Planning: The Vision, the Reality. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press.

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