Georgetown property owner Greg Vital said he is questioning whether TVA is following the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act relating to Native American cultural artifacts TVA identified in late February.
Mr. Vital, representing the four property owners whose land was taken by eminent domain action last November, said TVA moved the proposed route of its transmission line within days of finding cultural artifacts and possible graves, then "cut a new swath through virgin farmland without informing the property owners."
Mr. Vital said, “It doesn’t matter to TVA about preservation of sacred artifacts or private property rights. TVA has a schedule for Project Viper and moving the power control center out of downtown Chattanooga. Nothing else matters. TVA will say they are following all the regulations of Section 106 just like they say they have kept the property owners informed since last August, which is just a white lie,” said Vital. “When TVA speaks on this issue, it has been 10% fact and 90% deception.”
Mr. Vital said TVA should have proposed alternate routes west of the original route, completely avoiding the Native American site and its natural setting. He also questioned why TVA is burying the transmission line needed to connect to Volunteer Energy Cooperative on Highway 58 across TVA property and not the new transmission line crossing the Georgetown property owners’ land.
He said the new proposed route across his property "contains the same kind of cultural artifact structures as were found on the original route, yet TVA carved out the path before completing a Section 106 review and sharing the report with the property owners and Native American tribes.
“TVA makes heartless, arbitrary decisions based on a schedule, which it did in this case. TVA has refused since August to address citizens’ concerns over the impact of Project Viper. It has refused to respect private property rights. It refuses to respect Native Americans. Is there anybody TVA does respect?”