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TVA president pledges transparency, safety priorities to communities they serve

TVA's new CEO is meeting with local government and business leaders throughout the area about what TVA is doing at all its plants.

ROANE COUNTY, Tenn. — The TVA Kingston Fossil Plant has been updated with safer equipment and practices for years after the devastating coal ash spill of 2008.

Its new CEO is pledging to be more transparent with locals about what the utility is doing.

But not everyone in Roane county is ready to trust TVA again just yet.

Tuesday marked the fourth time TVA CEO Jeff Lyash has visited the Kingston Fossil Plant in his 101 days as president of the utility.

RELATED: TVA to temporarily take control of maintaining sports complex created after coal ash spill

He's meeting with local government and business leaders about what TVA is doing at all its plants.

"One of the things I noticed was that there was just not enough good reliable information, oftentimes not enough clarity around how we're managing this, what our plans are," said Lyash.

He said TVA's put more focus than ever on reinforcing its dams, moving away from wet ash shortage, and learning how to dispose of the coal ash at its fossil plants in the long term

"There are just a wide range of options," said Lyash. "That decision is very site-specific."

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Eleven years after the disastrous coal ash spill at the Kingston Fossil Plant, some people in Roane County still have trouble trusting TVA.

"It's a good first step for [the CEO] to try to reach out and I guess build a relationship with the community that's been broken with the trust in TVA," said Randy Ellis, chair of the Roane County Commission.

Lyash said since the spill, TVA has contributed $360 million in capital investment into Roane County through its involvement in the community.

"We'll demonstrate over time that we deserve their trust," said Lyash.

RELATED: Roane Co. remembers coal ash spill

Ellis hopes TVA remains transparent and continues to make sure people are safe in and around the fossil plant.

"The TVA has an opportunity along with Jacobs [Engineering] to step forward and be a positive partner with Roane County and the citizens to move forward and do what's best for the community and the TVA," said Ellis.

RELATED: Historic Disaster: 10 years after the ash spill