Tennessee Valley Authority

New Sprankle Building, Knoxville, Tenn.;
Woodward Building, Fifteenth and H STreets NW., Washington 25, D.C.1
Washington telephone, NAtional 7031

Chairman David E. Lilienthal
Vice Chairman Harcourt A. Morgan
Member James P. Pope
General Manager Gordon R. Clapp
General Counsel (acting) and Secretary Thomas J. Griffin
Comptroller E.A. Sunstrom
Assistant General Manager Arthur S. Jandrey
Assistant General Manager Robert E. Sessions
Chief Budget Officer Paul W. Ager
Director of Information (and Technical Library) W.L. Sturdevant
Director, Personnel Department George F. Gant
Director, Department of Property and Supply John I. Snyder
Chief Engineer C.E. Blee
Chief Water Control Planning Engineer James S. Bowman
Chief Design Engineer G.R. Rich
Chief Construction Engineer A.L. Pauls
Manager of Power G.O. Wessenauer
Chief Power Engineer Merrill DeMerit
Engineer of Power Design and Construction W.W. Woodruff
Superintendent of Power Operations C.L. Karr
Director, Department of Power Utilization Walton Seymour
Chief Conservation Engineer Neil Bass
Director, Agricultural Relations Department J.C. McAmis
Director, Forestry Relations Department Willis M. Baker
Director, Chemical Engineering Department Charles H. Young, Acting
Director, Regional Studies Department Howard K. Menhinick
Director, Health and Safety Department Dr. E.L. Bishop
Director, Commerce Department John P. Ferris
Director, Reservoir Property Management Department L.N. Allen

Creation and Authority.--The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporation created by act of Congress May 18, 1933 (48 Stat. 58; 16 U.S.C. 831-831dd). The statute directs the corporation to take custody of the Wilson Dam and appurtenant plants at Muscle Shoals, Ala., and to operate them in the interest of the national defense and for the development of new types of fertilizers for use in agricultural programs. These purposes governed the original construction of the Muscle Shoals properties pursuant to section 124 of the National Defense Act of 1916 (39 Stat. 166; U.S.C. titles 10 ad 32). The statute further provides for the development of the Tennessee River and its


tributaries in the interest of navigation, the control of floods, and the generation and disposition of hydroelectric power. Executive Order 6161, of June 8, 1933, which implements sections 22 and 23 of the Tennessee Valley Authority Act, confers upon the corporation the authority to conduct investigations upon which additional legislation may be predicated in order to aid further the proper conservation, development, and use of the resources of the region. In the conduct of its operations and investigations, the corporation is authorized to cooperate with other national, State, and local agencies and institutions so that the fullest measure of effectiveness can be achieved.

Purpose.--Efforts to improve the Tennessee River system for navigation, dating from the administration of President Monroe in 1924, culminated in the statute creating the Tennessee Valley Authority, which imposes upon that agency the duty of brining about an adequate and complete development of the river system through the construction of a series of dams upon the main stream and its principal tributaries. The relationship of the serious flood problem on the Tennessee River to that of the Mississippi was such that Congress directed the corporation to provide its projects with flood-control storage to alleviate these conditions. Closely related is a program of water control and conservation in the watershed of the Tennessee Valley, of which fertilizer research carried on at the plants at Muscle Shoals is a vital factor.

Organization.--As a Federal corporation, the powers of the Tennessee Valley Authority are vested in its board of three directors appointed by the President with the approval of the Senate. The corporation may sue or be sued in its corporate name, make contracts, adopt bylaws, purchase or lease real and personal property, and exercise the right of eminent domain in the furtherance of its constitutional objectives.

The corporation is financed by congressional appropriation. Additional funds may be obtained from the sale of power or fertilizers in the amount and under the conditions provided by the statute Some funds have in the past been obtained by the sale of bonds, but there is no authority to issue additional bonds, except under certain narrowly restricted conditions. The Comptroller General of the United States is empowered to make a post-audit of all accounts of the corporation.

The Tennessee Valley Authority Act established for the Authority a merit system of employment, with selection based upon comparison of qualified candidates. The number of employees varies with the construction schedules. There are now 17,198 employees. The standard workweek is 40 hours, with time and one-half for overtime for all hourly employees. The schedule for annual employees is 48 hours a week. The 1944 wage scale for construction work is as follows:

  Per hour
Skilled labor $1.125 to $1.75
Unskilled labor .575    
Semiskilled labor .65   to 1.00
Apprentice rates .65   to 1.46

For the purposes of collective bargaining and employee-management cooperation, employees of the Authority have the right to organize


and designate representatives of their own choosing. The Authority has set up an independent retirement system for its annual employees.

Area of Operation.--The main stream of the Tennessee River traverses a distance of about 650 miles from Knoxville, Tenn., to Paducah, Ky., where it empties into the Ohio River. It comp rises six principal tributaries which drain the highest mass of mountains east of the Rockies in an area of the highest annual rainfall in the United States, excepting the Pacific Northwest. The Tennessee basin includes parts of seven States, having an area of approximately 41,000 square miles and a population of about 3,000,000, about two-thirds of which is classified as rural.


War Production.--The Authority is directed by statute to hold its properties constantly available for purposes of national defense. Since the start of the national emergency culminating in war, the Authority has made all its plants and organization available for this purpose and has been reorienting its entire program to the war.

For war purposes, the Tennessee Valley Authority is producing ammonium nitrate, an ingredient of high explosives; pure elemental phosphorus, a material of chemical warfare; and calcium carbide, an ingredient of synthetic rubber.

The corporation's power-producing system has an installed capacity of 1,925, 842 kilowatts, and new capacity specifically authorized for war production purposes is being installed under War Production Board allocations to bring the total to 2,216,842 kilowatts in 1945. Normally planned projects have been speeded up to provide power as early as possible. The Authority is a principal source of electric power for several types of war production.

As agent of the Federal Works Administrator, the Tennessee Valley Authority has built and is operating 250 houses at Muscle Shoals to house war workers, and has acted as agent in land acquisition for other war housing projects in the Valley.

Navigation, Power, and Flood Control.--To carry out its mandate to provide a navigable channel in the Tennessee River and to obtain a maximum of flood control in the Tennessee and Mississippi River drainage areas, the Authority is constructing and maintaining dams in the tennessee River and is some of the larger tributaries.

The following system of dams will provide a 9-foot navigable channel from the mouth of the river near Paducah, Ky., to Knoxville, Tenn., a distance of 648 river miles, and will substantially alleviate floods in the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers: Kentucky Dam (closure completed); Pickwick Landing Dam (completed); Wilson Dam (completed in 1926 and transferred to the Authority); Wheeler Dam (completed); Guntersville Dam (completed); Chickamauga Dam (completed); Watts Bar Dam (completed); and the Fort Loudoun Dam (completed), all on the main river; Norris Dam, on the Clinch River (completed); Hiwassee Dam, on the Hiwassee River (completed); Cherokee Dam, on the Holston River (completed); Douglas Dam, on the French Broad River (completed); Fontana Dam, on the Little Tennessee River (closure completed); South Holston


Dam, on the Holston River (deferred by War Production Board order); Watauga Dam, on the Watauga River (deferred by War Production Board order); and Appalachia, Ocoee No. 3, Nottely, and Chatuge Dams (all completed) on the Hiwassee River system. Hales Bar Dam, 40 miles below Chickamauga Dam, and several other properties have been purchased by the Authority from the Tennessee Electric Power Co.. A leakage prevention program has been developed and various other improvements will be made on the Hales Bar Dam.

Disposition of Surplus Electric Power.--Under the statute, the Authority is charged with the disposition of surplus power. This power is to be sold in such a way as to promote the widest possible use of electricity and assist in liquidating the cost of the project. The statute prescribes that preference be given to cooperative associations and muncipalities in the disposition of power. Power is sold to industrial customers for purposes of establishing a high load factor, aiding in development of the resources of the region, and providing a market for secondary power which otherwise would be wasted.

As of June 30, 1944, the corporation had contracts for sale of power at wholesale with 81 municipalities, 3 counties, 45 cooperatives, and 7 privately owned utility companies. TVA also had contracts to purchase or interchange of power with 15 additional private power companies. These agencies (the private companies excluded) distribute power to more than 500,000 ultimate consumers under retail rates agreed upon with the Authority. The corporation had contracts for bulk sales of firm and secondary power with 10 large industrial concerns. It is also providing power to 11 projects, plants, and bases of Federal agencies. [Note: One of the primary consumers of TVA power is the MANHATTAN Project's gaseous diffusion plant for the enrichment of Uranium at Oak Ridge, Tenn. (Highly classified as of the date of this publication.) -- HyperWar editor]

Since 1933 the corporation and various municipalities and nonprofit cooperative associations have purchased from utility companies the electric generating, transmission and distribution facilities in an area which includes substantially all of Tennessee except the northeastern portion, northern Alabama, and northeastern Mississippi. The contract prices for these properties have aggregated about $116,000,000, of which the Authority's share, principally for generating plants and transmission facilities, has been about $55,000,000. These acquisitions have included properties of the Alabama Power Co., Mississippi Power Co, Tennessee Public Service Co., Kentucky-Tennessee Light & Power Co., West Tennessee Power & Light Co., Tennessee Electric Power Co., and a number of smaller companies. During the fiscal year 1944 the Authority's power sales totaled approximately 9,110,000,000 kw-hr. and its gross revenues from the sale of power were $35,200,000.

Fertilizer Development.--The corporation is authorized to employ the properties at Muscle Shoals in order to "improve, increase and cheapen the production of fertilizer and fertilizer ingredients." This phase of the program includes the development of new and improved plant food products and processes and the modernization of the plants to include new equipment of adequate size and design. New types of plant food so developed are tested under conditions of scientific control through the agency of national and State agricultural institutions. The use of products produced by the corporation has been incorporated in the agricultural and war food programs of established agencies, and because it involves readjustment in systems of agriculture,


in the interest of soil conservation, it provides a substantial measure of watershed protection in connection with the corporation's program.

Development of Phosphates.--Emphasis has been placed upon developing highly concentrated phosphates. Such emphasis is due to the importance of this mineral element in the maintenance of soil fertility, because of the isolation and limitation of the supplies of the raw product and the necessity of a comprehensive educational program to acquaint farmers with the value, effect, and best methods of its use.

Distribution of Phosphate Materials.--Use of plant food material produced by the corporation was taken up by agricultural research and educational agencies in 47 States, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico, under conditions set forth in contracts with such agencies. Material is being shipped under lend-lease for war food production in Great Britain. Under the supervision of land-grant institutions and their affiliated agencies, plant food has been supplied, as of June 30, 1944, to 44,000 farms for testing and demonstration purposes in 28 States More than 210,000 tons of material have been distributed for use on these farms aggregating more than 6,500,000 acres. In addition, some 240,000 tons were distributed by the Agricultural Adjustment Agency and other governmental agencies.


David E. Lilienthal
Thomas J. Griffin
Acting General Counsel


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1. Other offices: Wilson Dam, Ala., and Chattanooga, Tenn.

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation