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The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) coordinated the first Utility Environmental Benchmarking Forum focused on the environmental footprint of leading utilities and how the industry can improve its environmental operations. The forum was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee at the Chattanoogan Hotel on May 11-12 and drew participants from American Electric Power, Bonneville Power Administration, Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, Entergy, E.ON, Exelon, Florida Power & Light, Progress Energy, Pennsylvania Power & Light, Public Service Enterprise Group, Southern Co. and TVA [where are the NGO environmental groups?].

Formed as the Utility Environmental Footprint group, they represent a voluntary partnership of utility and other environmentally focused industry organizations [Huh?] that are willing to share their experiences and goals to stimulate environmental improvement. Attendees discussed how utilities can sustainably reduce their environmental impacts while producing power. Experts provided guidance in defining a utility environmental footprint, and best management practices were discussed.

Forum topics included defining a manageable utility footprint, reaching consensus on key environmental metrics, benchmarking based on similar definitional parameters and environmental best management practices that may impact a company's operations. Discussions revolved around such issues as air quality, climate change, land stewardship, natural resource management, waste minimization and water quality.

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The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the U.S. government, provides electricity for utility and business customers in most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia – an area of 80,000 square miles with a population of 9 million. TVA operates 29 hydroelectric dams, 11 coal-fired power plants, three nuclear plants and 11 natural gas-fired power facilities and supplies up to 36,000 megawatts of electricity, delivered over 16,000 miles of high-voltage power lines. TVA also provides flood control, navigation, land management and recreation for the Tennessee River system and works with local utilities and state and local governments to promote economic development across the region. TVA, which makes no profits and receives no taxpayer money, is funded by sales of electricity to its customers. Electricity prices in TVA's service territory are below the national average. (PRNewswire, 6/8/2010)