Open Letter to Rep. Duncan and to Sens. Corker and Alexander

I am a homeowner at Westminster Place Subdivision in Knoxville, Tenn. We have a TVA 161 Kilovolt easement that crosses our common ground property, which we have improved greatly with landscaping added to the native trees in the area.

Recently, the Line Applied Services on Transmission Lines from TVA began their plan to clear-cut this 150-foot easement, with pink flags marking over 130 trees for removal. The inexplicable decision to make our neighborhood area one of the starting points for this controversial action on the part of TVA certainly opened our eyes to the probability of reduced values of our property, both financially and aesthetically. Fortunately, we have a couple of farsighted neighbors who were able to delay this outrageous policy at our neighborhood for the time being.

I have been made aware that the TVA's initiation of these activities in our neighborhood is not even in conformance with the required federal regulations that brought on this set of actions. Those regulations are designated for 200 Kilovolt and higher lines. I also understand that the federal regulations only require a small clearing from trees to the lines. The requirement of clear-cutting the entire easement is literally overkill—particularly as in our case, our lines aren't even required to be addressed by federal regulation. The world and the public have developed an increasing awareness of the role of vegetation, particularly trees, in maintaining and improving air quality. One would hope government and regulatory employees would have the same awareness.

The TVA's plan to clear-cut nearly 16,000 miles (of tree cover) will cost the public and rate payers dearly, both financially and from a health standpoint. Please do whatever is in your power as our congressmen to make TVA restrict these efforts to the required 200 Kilovolt and higher lines, and to the outer lines so stated in the regulations.

Ann S. Rust