Federal Judge Signs Order Allowing TVA To Access Farms On Way To Planned New Meigs County Power Center

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Federal Judge Sandy Mattice has signed an order giving TVA access to several farms along the route to a planned new $300 million power center in Meigs County.

Meanwhile, the farm owners have hired prominent Chattanooga attorney Roger Dickson to try to fight TVA access to the farms for construction of a high-voltage line.

The order says  the farm lands "are deemed to be condemned and taken for the use of the United States" with compensation to be determined for the owners. 

One suit is against Greg Vital, a well-known businessman who has raised objections to the line going across his Meigs County farm. His farm includes an old stone barn that is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Another is against John and Bridget Vantiegham, who also own property in Meigs County along the route to the power control center. Another is against the owners of Cornerstone Farm in Hamilton County. 

The farm owners say they have only had a few months notice of the taking, but that TVA has been planning it for several years.

Magistrate Judge Susan K. Lee, who was also assigned to the case, has recused herself in a one-sentence order.

Here is the order signed by Judge Mattice:

Upon the filing of a Declaration of Taking and the deposit of the estimated compensation to which the landowner is entitled for the taking, the lands are deemed to be condemned and taken for the use of the United States and the right to just compensation vests in the person entitled. 40 U.S.C. § 3114(b). The United States of America, by and through its agents, is entitled to immediate possession of property condemned by power of eminent domain. United States v. Miller, 317 U.S. 369, 381 (1943). The statutory and constitutional authority of the Tennessee Valley Authority (“TVA”) under the TVA Act, 16 U.S.C. § 831, as an agent of the United States, to construct electric transmission lines and circuits and acquire rights-of-way therefore by condemnation has long been established. Ashwander v. Tennessee Valley Authority,297 U.S. 288 (1936); United States ex rel. TVA v. Russell, 87 F. Supp. 386 (E.D. Tenn. 1948); United States ex rel. TVA v. An Easement & Right-of-Way Over 1.8 Acres of Land, 682 F. Supp. 353 (M.D. Tenn. 1988). In this case, Plaintiff has filed a proper Declaration of Taking (Doc. 1-2) and has placed with the Court an estimate of the just and liberal compensation to be afforded to Defendants for the taking (Doc. 2).1 Accordingly, Plaintiff TVA shall have and be put into immediate possession of the real property specifically described in Plaintiff’s Declaration of Taking to the extent necessary to allow, enable, and permit TVA to conduct “surveys, core drilling, appraisals, title investigations, and related activities to determine what portion of said land or interest therein is necessary for the erection, operation, and maintenance of electric power transmission circuits.” (Doc. 1 at 1–2). “[T]he Plaintiff [will] remain liable for damage to annual crops and other actual property damage resulting directly from the operations of Plaintiff’s forces in the conduct of such activities upon said land.” (Id.). Accordingly, Defendants are ORDERED to immediately comply with this Order and to surrender possession of said real property to TVA pending further order of the Court. 


Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Georgia Coronavirus Deaths Now At 1,848; 43,400 Cases

Get Emailed Headlines From Chattanoogan.com; Like Us On Facebook, Twitter For Instant News


Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: AKRIDGE, SHONTEKIA NICHOLE 2803 S Hawthorne St Chattanooga, 374045738 Age at Arrest: 32 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga VANDALISM/MALICIOUS ... (click for more)

Georgia state health officials reported on Monday there have been 1,848 people in the state who have died from the coronavirus - 21 more since Sunday. The confirmed cases are now at 43,400 ... (click for more)

We send out headlines each week day of the latest Chattanooga news. Our news headlines have links that take you to the stories with a click. We also send out special emails if there ... (click for more)



Breaking News

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: AKRIDGE, SHONTEKIA NICHOLE 2803 S Hawthorne St Chattanooga, 374045738 Age at Arrest: 32 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga VANDALISM/MALICIOUS MISCHIEF RESISTING ARREST OR OBSTRUCTION OF LEGAL PROCESS DISORDERLY CONDUCT PUBLIC INTOXICATION --- ANDERS, MARGARET NAOMI 407 CHAPMAN ST Athens, 373033828 Age ... (click for more)

Georgia Coronavirus Deaths Now At 1,848; 43,400 Cases

Georgia state health officials reported on Monday there have been 1,848 people in the state who have died from the coronavirus - 21 more since Sunday. The confirmed cases are now at 43,400 up from 42,902 - an increase of 498. Hospitalizations are at 7,507 - up 57 since Sunday. Whitfield County has four new cases for a total of 283, and seven deaths. Walker County ... (click for more)

Opinion

Memorial Day Remembrance 2020

Perhaps the terrible toll that has engulfed the greater world community due to the black wave known as COVID 19 brings about an urgent sense of reflection and recollection on the true meaning of Memorial Day. One of the earliest commentaries was provided by Frederick Douglass at Arlington National Cemetery on Decoration Day 1871. He would extol to the crowd to never forget ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: For Grins & Giggles

We know from many previous experiences that “An Idle Mind Is The Devil’s Workshop.” We also know that not one person in our nation could have been better prepared than our leaders from both parties in this COVID-19 pandemic. Guffaw and cackle all you want but I promise not a person in our state would pick you over Governor Bill Lee. It is terribly disappointing that every day somebody ... (click for more)

Sports

Fulmer Issues Statement On SEC Decision To Allow Return To Activity By Student-Athletes

Tennessee Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer provided the following response to the SEC decision to allow student-athletes to return to campuses: Southeastern Conference leadership on Friday voted to allow voluntary, in-person athletics activities on league campuses starting Monday, June 8. Each SEC institution will make localized decisions regarding when and how student-athletes ... (click for more)

Dan Fleser: Tennessee In Lock Step With New SEC Athletic Guidelines

KNOXVILLE – The Southeastern Conference will make its first move back toward the playing fields when it allows the resumption of voluntary in-person athletic activities on June 8 on campuses. Tennessee will be lockstep with this first step, which was approved via vote of the schools on Friday. “We’ll continue to follow the guidance from medical experts and health officials ... (click for more)