Opposition to TVA
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The strongest opposition to TVA came from power companies, who resented the cheaper energy available through TVA and saw it as a threat to private development. They charged that the federal government's involvement in the power business was unconstitutional. The fight against TVA was led by Wendell Willkie, president of the Commonwealth and Southern Company, a large power utility company.

During the 1930s there were many court cases brought against TVA. The Alabama Power Company brought a suit against TVA that was argued before the Supreme Court. They claimed that in entering into the electric utility business, the government had exceeded its Constitutional powers. In February 1936 the Supreme Court ruled that TVA had the authority to generate power at Wilson Dam, to sell the electricity, and to distribute that electricity. (See Cartoons.) In 1939 the Court upheld the constitutionality of the TVA Act.

In 1935 John D. Battle, Executive Secretary of the National Coal Association, testified before a Congressional Hearing on TVA. Battle spoke for many in the utility business who were concerned about the federal government's entry into the power business:

we are willing to be put out of business if it can be done in a plain straightforward business like manner, but we do object to our Government putting us out of business." [ footnote ]