Sunday, December 18, 2011
The Tennessee Valley Authority
One segement of the New Deal was the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). It was conceived first as a water management and shipping program for the Tennessee River and tributaries, but went quite a bit farther when all was said and done. Probably the most interesting aspect of this idea was its approach - it was written to be a new federal agency that had the authorities of government with the structure and operations of a private business. Best of both worlds? Anyway, Congress bought in and passed this hybrid entity on May 18, 1933. Between 1933 and 1939, $231,066,270 was appropriated by Congress to implement the legislation. From the Annual:
"The objectives stipulated in the act are: Improvement of the navigability of the Tennessee River and the provision for flood control in the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers; provision for the agricultural and industrial development of the Tennessee Valley; provision for the national defense; and the development and distribution of incidental hydroelectric power to the public."
The rest of the article goes on to tell what the TVA was involved in between its inception and 1938. The first statement says: "control of the water resources of the region implies control of water on land, with consequent checking of erosion, improvement of agricultural conditions, retarded flood runoff, and increased groundwater storage." The TVA was also involved in two Nitrate plants, massive tree reseeding operations, malarial research, the study of occupational diseases, development of freight terminals, the installation of hydroelectric plants, the planned building of nine dams, experiments in developing large cooler containers and various ag pursuits including improved cottonseed oil production, high quality sorghum syrup, better flax fibers for cotton textile equipment, electrical curing of hay and dehydration of sweet potatoes.
They even dabbled in public water supply improvements like the single water supply for Wilder, TN in 1942. (Shown below)