Yesterday we filed the Plaintiffs’ response to TVA’s confession of judgment and motion for judgment in favor of the Plaintiffs. 2017-03-23 Doc. 386 Plaintiffs’ Response to TVA’s Motion for Judgment in Plaintiffs’ Favor We, of course, agree that judgment should be entered in favor of the Plaintiffs, but we think that it should go further than what TVA offered. We think that the injunction should not only enjoin TVA from further implementing its new practice known as the 15-foot rule, but should also order TVA to revert to its prior practices, and define what those prior practices were. The prior practices included leaving the buffer zones, generally 25 feet on the edges of the right-of-way that was left in its natural state, including vast numbers of 50-100-year old trees. Under the 15-foot-rule, also called the right-of-way widening initiative, or “reclaiming” the full width of the right-of-way, TVA was systematically clearing the buffer zones, destroying millions of trees on thousands of miles of right-of-way, and doing so straight through wildlife nesting season, indiscriminately killing probably hundreds of thousands of baby birds and wildlife of all descriptions.
Here is why we think the injunction should go further than what TVA has proposed: The lawsuit forced TVA to advise the Court that it had suspended the 15-foot rule and reverted to its prior practices. But after so advising the Court, TVA simply continued clearing the buffer zones. We proved this by aerial video at Land Between the Lakes where TVA cleared 31 miles of buffer zones right after it told the Court that it had suspended the 15-foot rule and reverted to its prior practices. As we stated in our Response, “Either TVA is misrepresenting itself to the Court, and simply continuing with the 15-foot rule, or it is using ‘lawyer gyrations’ to concoct a remarkable definition of the 15-foot rule, a definition that would somehow allow it to cut down the same trees either with or without the 15-foot rule.”
So simply ordering TVA not to further implement the 15-foot rule is not enough. We also need to order TVA to revert to its prior practices, and define what those practices are, including leaving the buffer zones and allowing landowners to trim their own trees.