The Tennessee Valley Authority can no longer chop down trees taller than 15 feet near power lines for the time-being, according to a recent ruling by Chief U.S District Judge Tom Varlan.
A group of people living in the Westminster Place subdivision in West Knox County filed a lawsuit in 2012 after years of battling with the TVA over trees on their property being cut down. They lost their case in 2013, but according to court documents, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals remanded, or returned the case, back to the district court.
The suit claimed the TVA's 15-foot policy was not necessary and was harmful.
Since Tuesday's ruling, the TVA has issued a statement saying they will follow the vegetation management injunction and is studying the potential environmental impacts of updating its vegetation management practices on their 16,000 miles of transmission rights-of-way.
"Until the environmental study is complete, TVA will follow standards outlined in the July 31 injunction from the U.S. District Court. TVA is committed to providing reliable, low-cost energy to our 9 million consumers across the Tennessee Valley," the statement said.
The TVA will leave the existing trees in the wire zone as long as they do not pose an immediate hazard to the transmission lines. The injunction states they may remove or trim any trees in the wire zone right-of-way that it deems to present an immediate hazard to its transmission lines.