Partial Transcript: Uh, the following is an oral history interview conducted as part of the Tennessee Valley Authority Retirees Association Oral History Project. The person being interviewed is Roosevelt Allen.
Segment Synopsis: Roosevelt Allen talks about part-time jobs he held and how these positions led to him being hired by Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).
Keywords: Biology; Botany; Chemistry; Clinton (Tenn.); College majors; Forestry labs; Forestry physiology; Forestry physiology laboratories; Graduate schools; Interns; Jobs; Knoxville College; Master's degrees; Medical microbiology; Microbiology; Part-time jobs; Part-time work; Physiology labs; Public health; Soil sciences; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); United States. National Park Service.
Subjects: Career moves; Careers.; Forests and forestry.; Plant physiology.; Research.; Tennessee River Valley.; Tennessee Valley Authority.; Tennessee Valley Authority. Division of Forestry; University of Tennessee; Work.
Map Coordinates: 36.104772, -84.128487
Partial Transcript: I have a, uh, kind of a basic two-part question. Uh, what does a plant physiologist do--(Allen laughs)--and why would--uh, why in the world was TVA, uh, involved with plant physiologists?
Segment Synopsis: Allen describes plant physiology and TVA's work and projects involving plant physiology. He talks about his first job during his career at TVA focusing on tree growth and land restoration. He talks about lab equipment and greenhouse experiments at TVA.
Keywords: Botanists; Botany; Clinton (Tenn.); Economic opportunities; Foresters; Gordon Hunt; Greenhouse experiments; Hardwood trees; Lab equipment; Laboratories; Land conservation; Natural resources; Northern black cherry trees; Plant physiologists; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Tree adaptation; Tree growth; Tree growth hormones; United States. National Park Service.
Subjects: Career moves; Careers & opportunities; Careers.; Conservation and restoration; Economic development.; Gibberellins.; Plant physiology.; Research.; Tennessee River Valley.; Tennessee Valley Authority.
Map Coordinates: 36.104772, -84.128487
Partial Transcript: I, uh, want to ask you how long did you work, uh, in the, uh, forest lab and doing this type of work?
Segment Synopsis: Allen talks about being deployed to Vietnam early in his TVA career. He talks about his experience in the Air Force and working in the medical laboratory there.
Keywords: Air Force medical services; Draft deferments; Medical microbiologists; Medical services; Military medical services; U.S. military; United States military; United States. Air Force; War drafts
Subjects: Career moves; Careers & opportunities; Careers.; Medical laboratories.; Vietnam War, 1961-1975.
Partial Transcript: And then you, then you came back to TVA and, uh, did a different kind of research, you said.
Segment Synopsis: Allen talks about his work and research in seed germination and land restoration on strip mining surfaces.
Keywords: Bear oaks; Coal mining; Dissertations; Doctorate degrees; Education, Higher.; Geneticists; Herb Jones; Invasive species; Land reclamation; Land restoration; Mine soils; Mist propagation; Novel species; Physiologists; Plant ecology; Plant nurseries; Publications; Research applications; Robert Farmer; Scientific writing; Seed germination; Seed selection; Seed storage; Shrubs; Silky dogwood trees; Soil characteristics; Soil properties; Surface mining; Technical writing; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Tree species; United States. Forest Service.
Subjects: Career moves; Careers & opportunities; Careers.; Plant ecology.; Plant physiology.; Research.; Strip mining.; Tennessee River Valley.; Tennessee Valley Authority
Partial Transcript: Alright, then you, then you, uh, went into environmental coordination.
Segment Synopsis: Allen talks about his time as an environmental coordinator for TVA. He talks about environmental regulations, evaluations, compliance reviews, and related projects.
Keywords: Attorneys; Central Arizona Project (CAP); Citizen groups; Coal wash facilities; Cultural resources; Dream jobs; Endangered species requirements; Environmental analysis; Environmental assessments; Environmental compliance officers; Environmental coordination; Environmental lawyers; Federal agencies; General Counsel; Jon Loney; Little Tennessee River Project; Mitigation; National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); National environmental compliance reviews; National environmental evaluations; National environmental process; Pete Claussen; Pollution; Program coordinators; Socioeconomics; Tellico Dam Project; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Tom Ripley; Tom Zarger; United States. Endangered Species Act of 1973.; University of Tennessee; Waterfowl monitoring; Wetlands; Zygmunt Plater
Subjects: Career moves; Careers & opportunities; Careers.; Ecology.; Environmental protection.; Environmental sciences.; Forests and forestry.; Tennessee River Valley.; Tennessee Valley Authority; Tennessee Valley Authority. Division of Forestry
Map Coordinates: 35.777778, -84.259722
Partial Transcript: Well, Rosie, uh, most people that I know and I have interviewed as a part of this project have, uh, about three or four TVA careers.
Segment Synopsis: Allen describes his career in waste management at TVA. He talks about addressing community solid waste issues in communities, developing waste collection programs, the Refuse-Derived Fuel Project, Center for Rural Waste Management, and a mobile exhibit showcasing recycling.
Keywords: "Green boxes"; Center for Industrial Services (CIS); Center for Rural Waste Management; Community collection centers; Community projects; Community work; Engineering; Environmental standards; Fred Weinhold; Hazardous waste management; Hazardous waste sites; Industrial hazardous waste; Jim Malia; Landfill regulations; Landfills; Marvin Runyon; Nuclear power plants; Pollution; Power generation; Power plants; Prevention surveys; Program development; Program managers; Recycling; Refuse-Derived Fuel Project; Refuse-derived fuel (RDF); Regional waste management; Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA); Rural communities; Solid waste; Solid waste crises; Solid waste landfills; Solid waste management; Tennessee Solid Waste Management Act; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Waste collection programs; Waste management; Waste reduction
Subjects: Career moves; Careers & opportunities; Careers.; Community relations; Environmental sustainability.; Refuse and refuse disposal.; Tennessee River Valley; Tennessee Valley Authority; Tennessee Valley Authority. Office of Natural Resources
Partial Transcript: Uh, now you left, uh, TVA at the end of your waste management, uh, stint, is that right?
Segment Synopsis: Allen talks about his career in environmental compliance for the postal service after working for TVA. He talks about how his career at TVA influenced his work for the postal service.
Keywords: Area environmental compliance coordinator; Auditing; Awards; Career opportunities; Environmental applications; Environmental compliance; Environmental work; Job opportunities; Mail processing plants; Partners for Environmental Solutions; Postal service facilities; Presidential Award for Leadership in Federal Energy Management; Recognition; Recycling; Solid waste; Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Vehicle maintenance facilities; Waste management
Subjects: Career moves; Careers & opportunities; Careers.; Environmental protection.; Postal service.; Tennessee Valley Authority; United States Postal Service.
MUMMERT: The following is an oral history interview conducted as part of theTennessee Valley Authority Retirees Association Oral History Project. The person being interviewed is Roosevelt Allen. Mr. Allen is a retiree of the Tennessee Valley Authority. He worked at the TVA for about 27-1/2 years between May 1967 and October 1994. He is being interviewed by Philip Mummert as part of the Oral History Project. The interview is being conducted via telephone. Mr. Allen is at his residence in Cordova, Tennessee. Today is Friday, May 8th, year 2020, and the interview is now beginning. Well, thank you, Rosie, and I'm going to call you Rosie. Thanks for doing this. I'm 00:01:00going to begin by asking you what were the circumstances that led to your being hired at TVA?ALLEN: Well, Phil, I thank you for this interview. Actually, it was one of these things that was never ever anticipated. In my senior year at Knoxville College, I majored in biology and minored in chemistry. And at the time, when I was in my last semester, I had no idea at the time what I was going to do. So I went ahead and applied to the University of Tennessee [UT] for a master's program in microbiology. My interest at that time was going into medical microbiology, either in research or primarily in public health. But TVA had a program, one of my fellow students was working at TVA at the plant physiology lab or the forestry lab and he was working part-time. And 00:02:00so my professor knew the fact that he was leaving for medical school, and she asked me if I would like, perhaps, to consider going out there and working for the summer and make some extra money before I started graduate school at the University of Tennessee. So I did. I went to work. I did the interview. Went to work at the laboratory in Clinton, Tennessee in the forestry physiology laboratory. And as I was working, I decided that this is pretty interesting work. It was along my interest in laboratory work. And so I was told at the time that if, perhaps, I wanted to stay working for TVA or wanted to consider a job at TVA, perhaps I could consider majoring in, in forestry or botany because, at the time, they needed someone with a background in plant physiology. 00:03:00And so, actually, I accepted the summer internship and accepted the thought of going to UT and considering majoring in botany. So that's how it started. I was like an intern then for the next two years, studying most of the time, working part-time, working on my master's degree in botany with a concentration in plant physiology and soil science.
MUMMERT: And this was around 1967?
ALLEN: It was 1967. I think I started working there around May in 1967. And,like I said, it was probably the most unexpected thing I had considered. Prior to TVA offering me this internship, I was also offered a position with the U.S. Forest Service--not the Forest Service--the Park Service. I was 00:04:00interviewed by a couple of fellows from the Great Smoky Mountains for a job, probably to be one of the first African Americans to actually work in the national park in the Great Smoky Mountains. In a way, I was, I was leaning that way, but not really. I was more leaning towards going to school and working part-time and working on my master's in microbiology, had it not been for that brief experience with TVA working in the lab that summer.
MUMMERT: I have a, a kind of basic, 2-part question. What does a plantphysiologist do? And why in, why in the world was TVA involved with plant physiologists?
ALLEN: It's a pretty fascinating question and I was equally fascinated by itwhen I learned what was going on. At the time, TVA was working with several agencies --the Forest Service, with the state--and there was a big 00:05:00effort during that time called tree improvement. For years, botanists, of course, and foresters had been looking at ways to improve tree growth, to improve tree adaptation. But most of the focus prior to that was focused on pine trees. And so TVA, at the time, was looking primarily at hardwoods. Dr. Herb Jones, who was head of the laboratory at Clinton, was a 1-man show, along with some nursery people who were working with him. Basically, we were looking at what affects tree growth beyond the obvious things. Whereas, things 00:06:00we could learn about trees that, perhaps, may be a stimulus to improving growth. And one of the big things back at that time, from a theoretical standpoint, was looking at what they called tree growth hormones. Like human beings, trees all--botany, I mean, trees also have hormones and there was a couple of ones that was of interest at the time and it was called gibberellin. Gibberellins are a class of compounds that tend to be generated by tree leaves at a certain time during the year and believed to be a factor associated with tree growth. So that's, that's a long answer to "why tree physiology?" I guess.
MUMMERT: And, and, but why, why did this work go on at TVA? I would, I wouldunderstand if it were for the Forest Service or--why was TVA involved or interested in this? 00:07:00
ALLEN: That was one, that was one of my earlier questions too. I didn't knowthat TVA, very early on in its, in its evolution was, did a great deal of work on conservation and restoring, restoring the damaged land that occurred because of, because of erosion over the years due to flooding and over-harvesting. So TVA had major programs over the years to reestablished forest land. Another part of TVA involvement at the time was also in encouraging, improving the quality of hardwoods in the Valley. Because it had economic implications, TVA was very much involved in looking at natural resources from an economic development standpoint as well as from a conservation standpoint. Well, hardwood trees, which used to be a mainstay in much of the Valley, had been cut pretty much--I mean they had been over harvested over the years. So most of the first growth and 00:08:00second growth forest had been either harvested or gone. So they were trying to re-establish some of those species back in the Valley, but they wanted reestablish the forest with, hopefully, improved species. So that was one reason for it. Well, two reasons I guess: the one was conservation and the other was economic development. I guess the third one was that TVA often worked in partnership with these other agencies and with the government to do things that would lead to both improvement in the Valley's, Valley's resources, but also in economic opportunities.
MUMMERT: Interesting. Did you, when you were doing that, say, laboratory work,come up with any important discoveries that led to, I guess, more practical forest applications?
ALLEN: Well, let me, let me say this. I, in my, in my first attempt00:09:00at it, not much success. I worked with Dr Jones on the project. We were, we were working with one principal species and that was black cherry, okay, the northern black cherry. And that was the tree that they thought would be one that we could definitely make some improvements in because it was a wood that had high value from an economic standpoint, there was not much of the stock left in the Tennessee Valley, especially what they called harvestable stock. So I set out to see if I could extract the compounds called gibberellins from the leaves and, lo and behold, I did, in fact, after many, many failed attempts and using different extraction methodologies. We had a laboratory that had some pretty modern equipment like paper chromatography. We had gel chromatography. We had spectrometers. We had barometers. All type of equipment. So by using 00:10:00those methods, which I learned in part from my studies at UT working with a Dr. Hunt--Gordon Hunt, who was a renowned plant physiologist from Cornell University. He was my mentor and my professor at the university. But I don't want to digress too much, but to come back to the point, I did manage to isolate several of the gibberellins. Gibberellins were known to occur in several forms and here's what I did. The way, I knew that I had done it, we used a test species. We used corn (maize). Studies have shown that if maize was exposed to gibberellins and it was the proper growth hormone, it would cause them to grow faster than corn that was not exposed to it. So I set up greenhouse experiments with, with Dr. Jones and actually demonstrated through a year and 00:11:00half of research that yes, black cherry did produce gibberellins and identified the timeframe when it was present. It was present primarily during the early growth phase of the, of the tree--and thirdly, of the three extracts of the gibberellins that I, isolated--one was extremely effective in stimulating growth in corn And so that was part of the experiment was to demonstrate that, in fact, the growth hormones did occur. And secondly, they could be isolated. And, in fact they, were growth hormones when they were applied. So obviously the question is, "Did it also work for black cherry?" Let's hold that one for a minute. Okay?
MUMMERT: Alright. I want to ask you how long did you work in the00:12:00forest lab in doing this type of work?
ALLEN: Okay, it really, it's interesting. My career at TVA was 27-1/2 years, butit was during the time of the Vietnam War, as you well know. When I first finished college. I lost my draft deferment and, I think, in 1968 and actually got drafted in 1968, but managed to get a deferment until I finished my quarter. At the time, UT was on a quarter system. So that was my second year. So I was at TVA from 1967 to 1969. In 1969, I got an extension for three more months, so I worked on at TVA from May 1967 to June 1969. In June of 1969, I reported to the Air Force. So I had two years of work and then I went for four years 00:13:00to the military. Well, the next part of the story begins after my return from the Air Force after serving four years. The resource focus had changed when I came back to TVA. And we can talk about that in a different way because when I came back it was no longer focusing as much on growth hormones. The focus had changed more to seed physiology and that, the next part of my laboratory journey was working with seeds mostly.
MUMMERT: You can tell me whatever you want to about that.
ALLEN: Okay. Well, let me digress briefly about the Air Force career. Imentioned early on in my conversation that my first interest when I left college was to go into microbiology. When I went into the Air Force--and I went into the Air Force on what they call an officer hold program. They had no slot 00:14:00for me when I first went in, so they put me into a waiting slot--once I finished my basic training. I was in a hold pattern with five other guys waiting for an appointment to attend officer training school. After about three weeks or four weeks of waiting, I decided--I had just gotten married just before I went into the military--and I was anxious to get my career over. So we were given a chance to take a test to see whether--we qualified for opening in air Force Medical Services. So they gave us a test and I qualified to go into the military medical service program as a medical laboratory technologist and it's a 1year training program. So in fact, to make a long story short, I spent my next four years in the Air Force working in the medical laboratory, most of that time as a medical microbiologist. And so I got a chance to do exactly what I wanted to 00:15:00do without that actually being part of the plan when I left TVA.
MUMMERT: Great. And then you, then you came back to TVA and did a different kindof research, you said.
ALLEN: Yes, in 1973 I came back to TVA. And then, the focus then, at this time,the focus was--I was working with Dr. Robert Farmer. Actually, let me mention too, before I left to go to the military, Dr. Farmer had replaced Herb Jones as my supervisor. He had, he had come to TVA and Dr. Farmer was not only interested in, he was also a physiologist and a geneticist. He was interested a great deal in tree growth, in plant growth as well, but primarily looking at seed, seed selection. So when I came back we started looking at, at seeds. 00:16:00Basically, seeds from various species--oak, popular, some pine--as well as, as well as other trees. We also looked at several kinds of shrubs because at that time, there was also a shift in interest in terms of reclaiming what they called damaged lands from coal mining that was going on in the Tennessee Valley--which was quite big at that time. Surface mining became one of the principal ways of mining coal. So I started, we started working with seed germination and seed storage. I'm trying to think, my first assignment was, at that time they were looking at the methods for storing seeds, looking at what type of environment they would best grow in, looking at soil conditions. And so I started 00:17:00working with oak seeds and also with pine seeds. And that was in 1973--I came back, I think, in August of 1973. So for the next 18 months roughly, I got reoriented again to working, working in plant physiology after working four year in the medical field. It took a little time to make the transition, but then I got quite involved. But I was obviously not very happy. Maybe a better word was I wasn't, I wasn't, I didn't feel professionally satisfied with what I was doing at that time. So I, I requested TVA, I requested to go back to school and to study for a Ph.D. in ecology, plant ecology. So that, that was 00:18:00approved. In September of 1975, I started back at the university studying, mostly part-time, I was again part-time studying ecology and working part-time in the laboratory again, working with seed germination studies and, and doing some publications.
MUMMERT: Okay, when you were working on the, say, seed germination studies, howdid the results of your research then get applied, even though you may not have been directly involved with that yourself?
ALLEN: Yes, here's, here's what happened. Basically, here's how it would getapplied. When you work with novel species, and let me mention primarily the shrubs species because those were the things we were looking at to plant on the strip mines. The Forest Service had a program where they were looking 00:19:00at exotic species that might be used as substitutes to put back on lands that had been disturbed. Keep in mind, a lot of, a lot of these lands, even in the Tennessee Valley, once they were strip mined, the soil, the soil that was left, the residuals had a very acidic quality about them characteristically. And a lot, a lot of the native species wouldn't tolerate this acidic environment to be replanted on. So some of the novel species that we were trying out were like silky dogwood and bear oak, were two of the species that come to mind. There was not a lot known about how you, how you were able to store it, how you best get them to germinate and, secondly, if you plant them in the nursery, how to grow these species. So the work we did was primarily the laboratory and the nursery part, to figure what the requirements were for storage, germination, 00:20:00and to grow. And then once we learned that, we could transfer that to our nursery guys who would then plant these seeds in large quantities in one of TVA's nurseries, for being later transplanted to some of the strip mine sites. So that's how we applied it. Some of those species are still out there right now. One, one species, silky dogwood, became, not only was it successful, it became an invasive species. So it would start to leave the site and also to invade some of the native areas and become more of a pest species in some cases. But it was very successful as a, as a plant for strip mines because it obviously helped prevent erosion and at the same time it provided a much more pleasing esthetic look if you were driving along the road and looking at these bare lands that was being caused by, by surface mining. I did a couple of 00:21:00publications with Dr. Farmer back then. I did one with the Journal for Wildlife Management called "The Germination of Silky Dogwood." I did another one for the Southern Journal of Applied Forestry where we looked at the germination and characteristics of bear oak. I did one later with another species that we were working with Dr. Farmer. We did that in a journal called the Plant Propagator. It was called "Mist Propagation of Cherry." Now, that's a little different than germination. Mist propagation is where you take cuttings from, from trees or shrubs and you find a way to get them to propagate--meaning you get them to actually form roots and therefore you can clone these species by vegetated means. So we did that as well. 00:22:00
MUMMERT: So right now, you had been working then, upon your return from the AirForce, in the laboratory.
MUMMERT: How long did you work there until you got into another area of work?I'm looking at your resume, and I see that you became an environmental coordinator at some point.
ALLEN: I did. But in the meantime, I'll mention I was, this work I mentioned inpublications and stuff was all occurring while I was still at school. I was still at the University of Tennessee working on my Ph.D. work. And so, beyond just--so about, after my second year at the university--going I guess on the second year, I started then to focus my attention more on--I was still looking at some of these novel species for surface mines. But then I began to 00:23:00look more at some of the characteristics of surface mine soils. And so I spent about a year, myself working with another graduate student at the university. We did a major study characterizing surface mine soils throughout the Tennessee Valley, well actually on surface mine areas. We collected soil samples and, just like regular soils have a taxonomy, you know, so do mine soils. They also came up with a classification system for surface mine soils. Now, why is that important? Well, like natural soils, knowing the soil characteristic says a lot about what that soil will support for growth. It's a lot, it's extremely important when you come to agricultural products, but equally 00:24:00important for, forest, forest land. And if you look at it, just, here's an example. I now living in Memphis, right? Before I lived in Knoxville. In Memphis, t in the Memphis area, the dominant species, forest species here would be oak and hickory. Those are the dominant species. If you look at the type of soil that they grow on, they grow on a certain type of soil because they usually grow on upland, on some of the upland sites, what they call the loess plains. Well, the same thing applies to any place in the world you go looking at soil characteristics. So, back again to the mine soils, So I spent a year working on different soil characteristics. So one of my studies that we put together, and I intended to use it as part of my Ph.D. dissertation, was that we 00:25:00built what we called these little, these little micro-cubes and they were pretty good size in our nursery at in Norris. And we actually brought in several different types of mine soils that we had classified. And it was classified on the basis of their composition, that is the type of materials they had in them, in their soil chemistry. And we placed them in different micro-cubes, and we tried different species on those to see what their growth behavior would be like. So I spent a year on that piece of work before I actually left the field of physiology and went into, into environmental coordination. That's a whole other experience. I did a publication about experiment was as a TVA publication. It never got published into a, a referenced journal, b I've a copy of 00:26:00it someplace in my files here, but it was a pretty substantial piece of work. I did a complete literature study on soil characteristics of mine soils and looked at ways in which this could be a useful tool in order for selecting species that would be compatible and that would, that would grow well in different, in different types of soil situations.
MUMMERT: Did TVA use that methodology?
ALLEN: Well, not actually. I think what happened was that mine soilclassification became kind of a controversial thing in regard to whether or not it had great utility when it comes to choosing species for application. And increasingly, like most like agriculture, the types of species that 00:27:00they used on, on mine reclamation became more and more of a monoculture. They'd find things what would work and that's what they used primarily whenever possible. And there was less and less attempt at trying to, trying to create a diverse, diverse plant population on mine soils.
MUMMERT: I see.
ALLEN: Yes, yes.
MUMMERT: Alright, then you, then you went into environmental coordination.
ALLEN: I did.
MUMMERT: How did that come about?
ALLEN: Oh man, that was my dream job. I mean, really, I'm being honest. When Ileft for the Air Force and got to work in the lab. When I came back to TVA, I really wanted to go into ecology. And that was, because of the Earth 00:28:00Day movement. The first Earth Day movement occurred back in 1972, as I recall. Well, I was in Arizona at the time and there was a project being developed called the Central Arizona Project [CAP]. It was a major effort to build a dam, of course, and divert the water to the Phoenix area and down to other CAP towns in Arizona for growth and for agriculture. So I got really interested in that project through the Earth Day movement and participated in the first Earth Day movement/celebration in 1972. So I came back to TVA and I said, "Boy, how can I find a way to get back into the environmental side of this thing?" Well I learned then that TVA--
MUMMERT: And TVA is wondering what happened to Rosie.
ALLEN: That's right. So here it was. TVA started back in 1970,00:29:00complying with the national environmental process, NEPA process. And TVA, of course, being a Federal agency, they had to participate NEPA. It was the National Environmental Policy Act, that's what they called it. That was the official name of the policy. And one of the ways which TVA organized to comply was to set us a management structure that had people assigned to handle environmental compliance reviews at all its major departments. That functional area was involved in actually conducting national environmental evaluations and national environmental compliance reviews. So there was a Coordinator for water and there was one for the forest and land management. There was also 00:30:00a headquarter unit that was primarily responsible for oversight and policy So, Forestry, where I was part of, had an environmental coordinator and his name was, Jon Loney. A very, very excellent young man. We were about the same age. But Tom Ripley, who was at the time the head of the Natural Resources Division. Jon Loney was promoted to the be the Office Environmental Manager, which left open his position at the p the division level. And I was contacted about that position. I think it was Tom Zarger that contacted me. he was my supervisor, and I couldn't wait to say, "Yes." I had never done this before, though I 00:31:00had spent almost four years at that time studying ecology and environmental science at the university and I was really anxious to get out there and begin to, to apply what I knew and also to get involved with environmental compliance. And, thus, the position became available and I was selected for it. And, I'll tell you, it was the best job I ever had, except for my time in the Air Force working in the laboratory.
MUMMERT: Well, tell me about it. What sorts of things did you get into?
ALLEN: Well, what was neat, what was neat about working in the environmentalcompliance area was that almost anything that TVA did relative to either land, land purchases, land, land transfer change of easement, building 00:32:00projects of any kind, whether it be, whether it be a nuclear power plant or a coal wash facility, you name it, it came under the National Environmental Policy Act. It required some sort of signoff whether or not that action would constitute a major environmental impact and thus had to be evaluated before it could be approved. So in the forestry side of things, we had several aspects of the environmental compliance that had to be looked at. We had to look at the endangered species requirements, so that was one of our responsibilities. We looked at wetlands, whether or not wetlands would be impacted. We had to, we also had to look at whether or not there would be effects on, on socioeconomic aspects of the environment. We also looked, at cultural resources and archaeological resources. All of that was a part of--not 00:33:00socioeconomics that was a different unit of TVA--but those three areas I mentioned: wetlands, endangered species, and cultural resources were responsibilities in our division. So we had to look at those things as part of our environmental review. So the compliance, the compliance manager, as I was at the time, we were responsible for working with whichever agency had the lead responsibility in developing the environmental analysis for the TVA action and to determine whether or not it would either require an environmental impact statement or whether an environmental assessment would be sufficient , or if, in fact, the action had no significant impact and therefore could be, go forth without any further review. So that was some of the things we got involved in. But project wise, it was everything. I mean it was almost all kinds 00:34:00of projects. Another one was, too, when they built these nuclear plants, we had some monitoring work to do. Several of the nuclear power plants that were being built at the time--Phipps Bend, I think, was one and, and I think it was Hartsville. There were requirements at Phipps Bend to do waterfowl monitoring. One of the impacts that was noted when they did the environmental impact statement was these towers that were being built, cooling towers, could have an impact on migrating, migrating waterfowl. So prior to the project getting started and during project construction we did, we did a population accounting of the waterfowl. And each year from that point one of the staff would fly surveys to do waterfowl monitoring. And so that was one of the things that came under, came under the environmental compliance, the environmental 00:35:00coordinator staff as well.
MUMMERT: Now, the requirements for what you covered in doing the environmentalimpact analysis, like for instance, waterfowl monitoring, was that dictated by someone else in TVA or someone else in the Federal establishment?
ALLEN: No, you're right. Good point, good point, Phil. Some of thoserequirements came about because of what we call mitigation. The waterfowl monitoring requirement came from the Nuclear Regulatory Agency that had jurisdiction over the project. That agency was responsible for determining whether TVA could go forth with the project. So as part of our negotiation and, and in doing the environmental impact analysis, some things could not be properly excluded, so you had to find ways to mitigate those action. The monitoring requirement was part of the mitigation that came from the 00:36:00Fish & Wildlife Service, who was also part of the review process. There were numerous agencies involved sometimes. The Corps of Engineers would be involved, the archaeological cultural resources would require a signoff by the State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO). And these, and these requirements were imposed through Federal legislation and obviously through regulatory processes by the responsible agencies.
MUMMERT: And this was, had this been going on at TVA for a while when you gotthis position? Or was it pretty much new line of, a new line of work?
ALLEN: It was pretty new, much of it was. I mean, TVA always has00:37:00been, you know for many years ---back in its 1950s and 1960s,---there was some limited requirements under Federal environmental regulations regarding air quality. But much of what I'm, what I'm describing was primarily put into law with the National Environmental Policy Act that was, that was actually established by President Nixon. And other environmental requirements came about the same time. The Endangered Species Act, I think, was passed I think, in 1969 or 1972. So for the most part, a lot of the things I'm describing did not become routine in TVA until about the mid-1970s. So when I got involved, we were probably a good five years into what I consider to be seriously applying National Environmental Policy Act requirements to TVA's projects. And 00:38:00even then, of course, there was still debates going on about, about some of this work. It was not widely accepted, in some instances, that this work was necessary. So but increasingly as time progressed, it became accepted that this was routine and this was part of project development in TVA and other Federal agency. And interpretation became more & more accepted in terms of how you apply the rules instead of trying to find ways not to apply certain requirements.
MUMMERT: One of the persons that I interviewed as a part of this Oral HistoryProject was Pete Claussen.
MUMMERT: And Pete was hired as the first attorney to be in the General Counsel'soffice to try to figure all these, this environmental, these 00:39:00environmental requirements out. I forget exactly when he was hired, but I'm sure you remember him.
ALLEN: Yes, I do. Yes. Yes, I do. I had no interaction with Pete, but I did seehis, his emails and comments. At the time memos, not emails, that came out regarding, regarding various interpretations of requirements that came about because of any kind of conflict, any issue that would, that would arise during the process of conducting an environmental review. And it was, especially, I mean when I became coordinator, much of all of the approval would have been granted for all of the nuclear power plants that were under development. Of course, as you well know, most of those finally were cancelled except for one, I believe, the Watts Bar facility, Watts Bar 1 and 2. But much 00:40:00of that had been done. The big, the big issue that came on was the Endangered Species Act that came up with the Little Tennessee River project. Well, that, that project involving the Little Tennessee River probably became one of the things that really got my interest in working also in the environmental field. When I went back at the university and took a course in 1974, that the instructor--maybe it was 1975--the instructor was a guy name Zyg Plater. Zyg [Zygmunt] Plater was a professor in law at UT and, specifically, he was an environmental lawyer. And he was one of the lead counsel, I think, involved in the TVA case involving endangered species. I took his course on environmental law, with the specific emphasis on, on natural resources law. 00:41:00
MUMMERT: That must have been very interesting at the time. The Little Tennessee[River], that was the Tellico Dam project.
ALLEN: The Tellico Dam project, yes, it was.
MUMMERT: But, you fortuitously probably escaped having to be the environmentalcompliance officer when that project was being developed.
ALLEN: I did indeed, but, but we all watched it with a tremendous amount ofinterest and curiosity.
ALLEN: And also, and much debate about the relevance of that species to the project.
MUMMERT: Was there anything else you want to tell me about your environmentalcoordination days? Any interesting findings or any interesting stories? Or accomplishments? 00:42:00
ALLEN: Well, we had, we had one, I guess, where we actually had a change. I hadone project involving a coal wash facility that was going to be built. I'm trying to think of where that facility was. It's a coal wash facility and TVA--
MUMMERT: I believe, excuse me for interrupting, but I believe the, the only coalwash facility TVA had was at Paradise.
ALLEN: Right, that's the only they actually got built.
ALLEN: There was one that was not built because, and partly because it was, itwas challenged under the National Environmental Policy Act, but other reasons as well. That one I was involved in and there was a citizen challenge to the project. In fact, we initially did the review of the project and decided that it would not have a significant environmental impact. It was challenged by a citizen group--actually some people who lived in the community --that 00:43:00the coal would have to pass through in order to, to reach the coal wash facility. It was on the Clinch River, I think. And therefore the project was sued in Federal court. And I was the person, obviously, who was interviewed about the project by the plaintiff, plaintiff attorney and gave testimony regarding it. And, of course, it was finally settled in the court and the decision was made that the project, that the document we had prepared--the environmental assessment--was sufficient and we had, we had adequately documented and adequately made, made aware to the public all of the significant impacts. The biggest impact of public concern was air pollution related to the coal being transported leading to coal dust flying off the trucks 00:44:00as they travelled to the facility. And the second was socioeconomic impact caused by increased vehicular traffic in the neighborhood. TVA decided in the end not to develop the project, although it was, it was found to be adequate from an environmental impact standpoint.
MUMMERT: And so, as I understand the, or understood the National EnvironmentalProtection Act, you know, in a case like that, if TVA, despite those, those negative impacts you were finding, TVA could've made a decision to go ahead with that project anyhow. Is that true?
ALLEN: They could. They could have. In fact, we had identified00:45:00several specific mitigations that were part of our submittal, part of our environmental impact analysis. And those mitigations were the ones in part, I think, what led the judge to find that although these impacts that were noted would occur, the mitigations that were being proposed would be sufficient to, to address any impacts that would perhaps occur to the community. But yes, they could've moved forward with the project.
MUMMERT: But, yes, the information that was developed through the environmentalimpact process was really for the use of the decisionmakers, to make better decisions.
ALLEN: That's right. That's what that, that's what it was for. That was thewhole idea behind it, is for better decisions that would be more inclusive of, of the broad list of natural and environmental resources that could be impacted by a particular project. Instead of just economic side of things, you 00:46:00looked also at the natural resources and the socioeconomic aspect of it as well.
MUMMERT: Well, Rosie, most people that I know and that I have interviewed as apart of this project, have about three or four TVA careers.
ALLEN: Uh huh.
MUMMERT: And I think that you also had a number of different careers. You'vealready covered two of them. What happened to you next?
ALLEN: Well, things move, things move on, like always at TVA. One thing aboutTVA, you know, it was extremely good at developing people within the agency for different positions based in part on technical background. But also based in part on the person's ability as a manager or demonstrated capacity as 00:47:00a manager to move on to a different position. So that was my, that was my blessing I guess. I was always curious about a lot of things and I always continued to study beyond what I, what I was doing at the time, which sometimes, I guess, was helpful. So after I left the environmental part, I went into Waste Management. It just so happened that waste is a part of, is quite often a serious environmental issue. So that was, that was not too much of a segue, I guess. Nonetheless that's what I ended up doing next. I'm trying to compose myself for a minute. Let's, let's pause for a second, Phil, if you will. 00:48:00
ALLEN: Yes. In 1987, TVA went through several reorganizations and, and thedivision of Natural, the Office of Natural Resources, which I was a part of reorganized several more times. And at the time, when that reorganization occurred, they actually took Environmental Services, which essentially became the environmental coordination function and they put it together with another function TVA had called waste management. So it became Waste Management and Environmental Services. So I still continued to have the environmental coordination function, but also it expanded to include some work that TVA was doing working with communities. Now, this was not dealing with, with waste generated by TVA or TVA operations like ash from its power plants. It was, instead, a community outreach program where TVA worked with industry 00:49:00and with the local government in addressing issues of solid waste management and hazardous waste management. So the staff expanded somewhat. There was a staff of 12 people I worked with--all scientists and engineers. And so that became my next job for about a year, before it reorganized again.
MUMMERT: What types of activities did you get involved with?
ALLEN: We got involved with several things. And let me, I guess the mostimportant one at the time was the country was dealing with what they called a solid waste problem, a solid waste crisis. It was somewhat more of, more of a psychological thing than a real thing. So TVA had been offering 00:50:00engineering services to help communities to design solid waste landfills. And that was one aspect. The other service was helping local communities to set up community collection centers. We called them green boxes. It was pretty common in rural communities. They put these 8-yard, 6-yard Dempster Dumpsters in a central location--and the community would come by and deposit their waste there, solid waste, and, of course, it would be collected. And it was better than what was going on prior to that. A lot, a lot of people in the rural areas--not a lot, but many were-- had no organized waste collection program, so waste got dumped wherever you could dump it. And it led to all kinds all kinds of environmental problems. So we got involved with that part of it. We 00:51:00also got involved with industrial waste. Another issue that was going on was dealing with industrial hazardous waste. So we had a team of people that were well trained engineers that began to work with select industries in, in finding solutions for their hazardous waste other than the method they were using. In many cases, they were looking at ways to reuse the waste. Other times, they were looking at ways to reduce upstream waste generation by looking at ways to modify the, the manufacturing or the process that would generate the waste. So that was kind of my early on involvement with solid waste management and--
MUMMERT: So those, excuse me, those industries, what were they doing00:52:00with their waste? What, just disposing of it somewhere?
ALLEN: Yes. And at the time, there was. some, of course, was being commingledwith the solid waste stream, which was not an uncommon practice. Often waste generated by, by chemical plants sometimes was just being injected back into the, into the ground. So, yes it was often not being collected separately and, if collected separately, not being disposed of in a manner that was consistent with good environmental standards. Much of it went into the community or the city landfill. That's why, later on, most of the solid waste landfills that were utilized prior to the 1990s act that resulted in some new landfill regulations, became hazardous waste sites. And, even to this day, they are 00:53:00hazardous waste sites.
MUMMERT: When did you become the, make your switch to Waste Management? Wasthat--ALLEN: It was, it was December 1987 when I started in Waste Management.
MUMMERT: And so this whole practice of industries disposing of waste was prettyprevalent and they hadn't really considered many options at that time, right?
ALLEN: It was pretty prevalent, yes. It wasn't true universally in the industry,but by and large it was a serious problem, resulting, of course, in several major pieces of legislation going forth and congressional acts. The Resource Conservation and Recycling Act (RCRA), that came about in, I think, in the early 1970s was one that came about that required, required standards in industry about handling solid waste, I mean 00:54:00handling hazardous act. The Tennessee Solid Waste Management Act that was passed, I think, in 1990, which imposed a set of standards for landfills. They called them subtitle D standards, that required all states then to have landfills to meet a certain requirement before they could be approved. This resulted in the closure of numerous small landfills that were being operated. Of course, at the time, TVA was involved in those early siting, early work in helping to site and to design landfills. That became less of an activity later on because now the states had to take on that responsibility and some of the major landfill, I mean, major waste companies like BFI and Waste Management, to name two, were companies that got involved in new landfill 00:55:00developments and began to assume a major role in operating landfills instead of by cities or counties as they were prior to the 1990 law being passed.
MUMMERT: Well, in terms of working with industries and their waste problems,just how did you and your program do that? And was there any, how did you gain the cooperation, let's say, of industries?
ALLEN: Yes, that's interesting.
MUMMERT: Did they mind TVA being involved, I guess, is my question also?
ALLEN: Well, once again, one of TVA's strengths was, and I guess the way inwhich it often did community projects during the 1970s and 1980s, we 00:56:00did it in partnerships with, other agencies, state or Federal agencies. We didn't do it alone. And quite often, we would be, we would be involved in the early stage, the early phase of the project in order to get something going that could be a bit controversial or we had resources for, and later on we would hand it off to another agency to handle, usually the lead agency. In the case of industry, we got involved in several instance with the Center for Industrial Services [CIS] at the University of Tennessee. It was a service centers that worked with Tennessee industries. TVA staff worked with CIS and specific industry by conducting waste pollution prevention surveys prevention; i.e., looking at ways in which we could reduce their waste stream or we could find a way to reuse their waste stream in such a way to either save them money on front end, or by reducing their cost on the back end. It took a while, but 00:57:00as I think about it, through the cooperative efforts, the effort was successful. Another thing we did in the process was to develop publications that targeted certain, specifically identified industries and means by which they could go about reducing their waste streams, and that was pretty popular. And then, and then that was used for distribution by the CIS and agencies in other states, as a way to get cooperation.
MUMMERT: Well today, in the year 2020, most industries that I'm familiar withare working on an ongoing basis to prevent pollution, or reduce their 00:58:00waste, or recycle or re-use it. But what you were working on then was really on the cutting edge.
ALLEN: It was.
MUMMERT: And are there any, were there any good examples of some industries youworked with at that time that themselves took a step forward and was able to find savings or reuse opportunities that were memorable?
ALLEN: Yes, I'm trying to, I was trying to think of one or two, but none come tomind now. I can't think of a specific industry, although there were several. And my mind is going blank on, on what they were. Later on, as we go 00:59:00through discussing the other aspect that I got involved in with regional waste management, it may come back to me. So hold that question for a minute, Phil, and I will, I will respond to it later.
ALLEN: But in the meantime, let's continue to talk about regional wastemanagement because one year later, the department name changed again. It was still the same basic job, it was, I became manager of the Regional Waste Management department and some of the same functions continued. But I'd like to highlight one of the major things that we did during that time. And that was when TVA decided, I mentioned before, that we were having this big issue about the solid waste crisis going on in the country. And so, we got a new, new Chairman of the Board, Marvin Runyon. And I'm trying to think of the year in which it specifically occurred, but the decision was made that maybe 01:00:00one way TVA could be of help in addressing solid waste problem was the fact that we could perhaps burn this waste at one of our power plants. And we were directed to put together a team to go out and do an analysis of whether or not certain TVA power plants could be used, especially in areas around municipalities to burn the solid waste and help to reduce the need for landfills. And that became known as the Refuse-Derived Fuel Project. Refused-derived fuel was basically taking the waste, separating out, separating all the metals and various recyclables-- leaving the paper in--and converting the remaining waste into a pelletized product that was to be used as a fuel in power plants. That was quite a project, and probably one of the 01:01:00most interesting projects I was involved in during my entire TVA career. It was led, of course, by the, by Power, but at the time my department was the unit that was responsible for doing the evaluation with a team of people led by a guy named Fred, Fred Weinhold. He was very brilliant engineer that worked in the Power division.
MUMMERT: And what came of that? What--
ALLEN: Man, it was, it was, let me tell you, it was probably one of the, one ofthe most, other than nuclear power plants, it was probably, well, at least in the 1990s, it was probably one of the most controversial things we got involved in. A lot came of it from the standpoint of waste analysis. It was a 01:02:00major piece of work. A beautiful, beautiful piece of engineering analysis as well as community involvement, and here's what became, became of it. We identified several plants that, perhaps, could be candidates, but what, what was decided, instead of burning the waste directly in one of our existing boilers, a decision was made to do what we called a companion boiler. In other words--let me digress a minute--refuse-derived fuel was not new for TVA. It had been, it had been proposed and, in a few places outside the Valley, refuse-derived fuel was used as a means to treat, deal with their waste management. Very small plants, for the most part, not too successful, especially when they were trying to combine those, the fuels with coal for power generation. So that 01:03:00was part of it. So we identified these plants: One was Hartsville, because it was close to Nashville, and at the time the Mayor of Nashville was, was [Phil] Bredesen and Bredesen had contacted TVA and said, "Look, can you guys help us out here?" Nashville had a plant, a waste plant, that, that had been around for years, a waste incinerator right downtown that was being used to generate steam. And that steam was being used to heat some of the buildings around the downtown area, but it was, it was a mess, an environmental mess. It was very inefficient. So yes, so Mr. Runyon said, "Yes, we will, we will work with you on the project. So we evaluated all these different facilities. Came up with a proposal to actually build a companion boiler at one of the plants and to test it. Never happened because Mr. Runyon, you know, left TVA and he went to the 01:04:00U.S. Postal Service as the Postmaster. The project did not go away, but the decision was made to let's, instead of us using, instead of solid waste, I mean, from solid waste refuse-derived fuel, why don't we use tire-derived fuel? You take, we take tire casings and make a fuel from them, make a pellet from the tires, and burn that at one of the plants. And burn that, not as a companion boiler that is a separate boiler, but mix it, attempt to mix it with our coal, coal mix going into a plant as a fuel. And that test was done at Allen Steam Plant here in Memphis. There was actually a process started where we, TVA, did some, did some test burns using different percentage mix tire-derived 01:05:00fuels with our coal fuels. And let's say the bottom answer, the answer was yes, it might work but there were some problems. One of the big problems was, of course, that the tires, of course, were steel belted tires. Most of them are these days, so there was a certain amount of steel and metals left that was in the tires fuel. Which meant that when the ash came out, either the bottom ash, it was more toxic than it would have been previously, which pretty much put a stop to the project. So, from a research standpoint, from an analysis standpoint, a great piece of work again that TVA took to lead in doing something that was, that was different and, and risky. We got some answers to what would've been a problem and it kind of ended there. But in both the solid waste part of it as well as the tire-derived fuel, neither one of those 01:06:00things went to fruition beyond the test phase.
MUMMERT: The, and one of the major supporters of the project, Mr. Runyon, left.
ALLEN: That's right.
MUMMERT: So the, even if the, something didn't work right, he probably would'vepushed it in some different direction.
ALLEN: He would have.
ALLEN: Yes, yes, yes.
MUMMERT: That's really interesting, Rosie. What, with regard to working withindustries and attempts to reduce waste, do those types of activities still continue, as far as you know, at TVA?
ALLEN: No, they do not, as far as I know. Well, as far as I know, they don't.
MUMMERT: Do they, do they at the university?
ALLEN: Yes. I think, I think the university still maintains that01:07:00Center for Industrial Services. I know, I know they, I know they have, I know the University of Tennessee [Center for] Industrial Services has been reorganized, and they have a major effort still, still around to support industry and communities in solid and hazardous waste management. In fact, just to skip ahead to current I'm still involved in waste management. I'm on the, I serve on the Memphis Shelby County Solid Waste Management Advisory Board. So we are still engaged with the state in dealing with waste management here in the City of Memphis and Shelby County. If I can, Phil, can I go back to working at Regional Waste Management again?
ALLEN: I mentioned the tire-derived fuel. That was one big thing, but we didsome other good work as well. TVA was very involved in the early days 01:08:00of recycling. I mentioned the, the drop-off centers that we set up in communities. That was, that was the birth essentially of it, and even today, I think, there's a few communities that still use that as a means of consolidating its recyclables. In fact, Knox County, Knox County's first major recycling initiative, before they started curbside, was actually where they set up drop-off centers in two locations in the county for people to drop off their recyclables. And it was primarily collecting plastics and newspapers and cardboard, which is still kind of what's being done. So we helped, we helped establish that in many communities. And then we also established something called the Center for Rural Waste Management. That was an initiative 01:09:00that, that came about when we brought in a fellow named Dr. Jim Malia onto our staff who had formerly worked in that same area in Minnesota. He came to UT because his wife became a professor at the university, so Jim came onto the staff and began to work with us. And we decided, there was a lot of issues involving, involving small rural communities that were not being properly addressed by the county, by the state level, so why don't we put something together that would consolidate the best knowledge that we know about practices with regard to dealing with hazardous waste, solid waste, problem waste, and do, do so from a standpoint of a center, a center of excellence. So we put that together and it, it operated for about a couple of years. But what it led to was a publication where we actually put together a document that sort of 01:10:00highlighted some, some community efforts that were going on throughout, throughout the TVA area and addressing some of the areas, addressing rural waste management in some of the small counties and some of the moderately sized counties in North Carolina, and Alabama, and several in Tennessee.
MUMMERT: Did that, in that rural waste center, did they, did you work with thedifferent states involved? How?
ALLEN: We did, we did.
MUMMERT: How did that work?
ALLEN: Well, one thing was to identify specific areas, specific counties orcities that might be candidates, you know, for, for TVA's assistance. And that was part, and so that would be one way that we got, got involved with 01:11:00them. Another way was, of course was to put together a publication of best practices. We worked with the University of Tennessee to help us actually to do the interviews, to actually go to these communities, document what was going on, to interviews with the various participants; some cases local community activists as well as with solid waste or county officials, and to document the findings and benefits that derived from Again, the results were a fairly significant publication put together. I should've pulled that it before I did this interview so that I could've gone through some of the examples that we actually, some of the communities that were actually involved in that initiative.
MUMMERT: That's alright. Did you work primarily though in all, say, seven Valley states?
ALLEN: We did.01:12:00
ALLEN: It was primarily done in the seven Valley states at the time. And so thatwas, that was a major initiative. And there was one more that I thought was, perhaps, just as innovative and this one covered most of the South. Another project we did, and that was another partnership involving the TVA taking the lead, putting resources in, and also coming up with doing some of the design work. We put together an organization called Partners for Environmental Solution. It was, we did that in conjunction with the State of Tennessee, with the Soft Drink Beverage Association, and several other of the national recycling organizations. And the idea was let's put, let's develop a mobile 01:13:00exhibit that would showcase ways in which communities can recycle. But not just how you can do it, also show all the types of material and all the benefits from recycling and also show materials that can be made from recycling. And so we took an 18-wheel unit, a 53-foot trailer, and we converted it into a traveling laboratory and exhibit on recycling that was designed to go to t communities, to go to schools in the Tennessee Valley as well as elsewhere. Well, this project was extraordinarily successful. We built the unit. We operated it, with the Bicentennial Volunteers organization being the operating unit. TVA, of course, providing the resources to assist with that. And we visited schools 01:14:00all over Tennessee, Alabama. The unit was so popular it was actually present at the 1996 Olympics games in Atlanta. It also went to Disneyworld. Many places. Thousands of students had a chance to go through the unit. The organization that owned the unit was a private, nonprofit partnership. There was three people involved in it primarily: myself from TVA, Dr. Ruth Neff from the State of Tennessee, and Mary Ellen Jones, who was a person from the soft drink association. The three of us was actually the organization called the Partners for Environmental Solution. And after I left TVA, the organization continued to operate. We built a second unit that was also used for the same purpose and then we partnered with the U.S. Postal Service. I was funded in 01:15:00part by the Postal Service as part of its means of expanding education about recycling throughout the southeast area again. So that was--
MUMMERT: That's great.
ALLEN: That was three of the four of the projects I wanted to highlight thatwent on in that short period of time between 1987 and 1994.
MUMMERT: Do you, do you still remember or do you have any of the metrics abouthow many visits, different stops the exhibit made or the number of people that might've seen it?
ALLEN: Oh gosh, I have, I have some of those metrics. I know we had about 30,000students that went through it.
MUMMERT: Uh huh, that's great.
ALLEN: And, as far as stops, my gosh, I had those as well but I can't recall thenumbers. But it was hundreds and hundreds of stops and in places, as 01:16:00I said, in places all over the southeast. And the thing about it, I guess my last note was that we kept the unit and in 2004, our Partners for Environmental Solutions nonprofit we finally dissolved and we sold the unit to the State of Iowa to do the same thing with. So, we finally got out of the business. I think these unit had big effect in terms of, in terms of spreading the news about recycling, we also were able to transfer what we had learned to another state in the process.
ALLEN: It was, it was really a great project. I still put a check, I checklistby it as one of my, one of my foremost accomplishments in terms of waste management during that period of time when I worked in that area. 01:17:00
MUMMERT: And I suppose TVA liked it a lot too.
ALLEN: They did indeed. It was, it was a very popular project at the time.
MUMMERT: Well, listen we've covered quite a diversity of activities when you're,under your waste management period and your career helping out communities, industries, trying to find ways to use TVA fossil plants to incinerate some of the RDF--
MUMMERT: And the rural center. It sounds very exciting and I'm sure that in manyways that not even you don't know you had an impact beyond the boundaries of the Tennessee Valley in different ways through those waste management years. And, like I said before, you've had basically three or four careers 01:18:00at TVA.
ALLEN: I did.
MUMMERT: And I appreciate your going through and sharing all that. It's quitesomething to be working starting out as a plant, a plant--
ALLEN: Plant what?
MUMMERT: Laboratory technician.
ALLEN: That's right, that's where it started.
MUMMERT: And moving through a number of hurdles that get you to some excitingand--they were all exciting projects through your whole career. Now you left TVA at the end of your waste management stint. Is that right?
ALLEN: I did, yes.
MUMMERT: And that was sometime around 1994, I guess, and I'm--
MUMMERT: I want to, I'm going to conclude this interview soon.01:19:00
MUMMERT: But I do want to not conclude it without your being able to touch onwhat, some of what you've done since, since TVA cause I know that you had another career beyond TVA, or a couple of them really. I know that you worked for the U.S. Postal Service for about a decade.
ALLEN: I did.
MUMMERT: And so I'd like you to tell us a little about that and maybe how yourTVA experience helped you, helped you out in that capacity.
ALLEN: Thanks Phil. I mean the Postal Service was almost a continuation in partof my TVA regional waste management experiences. In fact, it was how I became employed by the Postal Service. I think I mentioned earlier the fact that they were one of our partners when we did the Partners for Environmental 01:20:00Solutions mobile unit and I, at that time, I got to, I got to meet the manager of the environmental, environmental services for the southeast area for the Postal Service during that project. I knew nothing about the Postal Service environmental work at the time. That was, that was 1996, I guess, and after several years, several years after leaving TVA, I did different things. I even came back to work for TVA for a while, under BVI to work, to work on two more environmental compliance projects. Three projects, to be honest, which I was involved in as a consultant. But anyway, in 1998, I got hired by, the Postal Service. They had a position posted for an environmental, area environmental compliance specialist actually called an area environmental compliance coordinator. It was almost the same job that I had before, same title 01:21:00anyway. So I applied for the job and, gosh, a year later almost, I was hired. It took a long time and was a long process. They went through a lot of candidates, I was told. They went through 60 candidates and I ended up being selected for the position. And that job, of course, was a little different. It was mostly involved in working more so on environmental compliance for the Postal Service operations. Not NEPA work, but compliance involving things like air quality compliance for its operations at vehicle maintenance facilities. We had certain environmental compliance requirements for waste management and waste disposal. We also had it for our plants. And also we had to deal with the same thing that every community had. We had a large amount of solid waste from the mail that could not be delivered. So and, the Postal Service is organized in 01:22:00regions, and I worked for the southeast region, which was five states, including Tennessee. And I did that for the next 10 years and, gosh, we, we did what we called audits of all the facilities of our plants and operations. We put in processes for,dealing with their various waste streams, everything from the hazardous waste streams generated there from their water quality matters. We put together solid, solid waste plans. We put together storm water pollution prevention plans. In some cases, we had large boilers at our plants that required air permits. We did that. And later I also became the energy compliance, energy coordinator. This involved conducting energy audits at facilities throughout the southeast. And we worked with TVA, by the 01:23:00way, to produce energy improvements in some of our facilities at several locations, including Nashville. And Memphis, where TVA, through its outreach efforts actually helped us to put in new lighting fixtures and improve the lighting quality at our large plant here in Memphis. Over the years, we had some great project, and my team won the Presidential Award for Leadership on Federal Energy Management in 2001 for one of the best energy management programs in the Federal government. The highlight of that award was it was given by by [Vice] President Dick Cheney at the time when the country was still in the 911 lockdown. So [Vice] President Cheney came out and actually presented the award to us in October of 2001. I think I made a note here that we, we had 01:24:003,800 facilities in the Southeast area, postal service facilities, that we had responsibility for monitoring for environment compliance issues and waste management related, related problems. Most of it was just solid waste management, putting together contracts for the solid waste and also for their recycling. But for a few of the plants, like the mail processing plant, we had 52 of those, and we had 48 vehicle maintenance facilities we had other types of environmental compliance related responsibilities to deal with. So a great way to end my career. TVA had all, TVA had a bearing on everything that I did. Looking back, it never would've happened had I not had those broad 01:25:00experiences at TVA that came about because the agency was generous enough to give this little guy who, who really from the day I first got there was kind of mystified by the agency, but at the same time quickly learned that it was a way in which you could grow and make a difference, in a small way and a big way sometimes. I'm, I'm really honored and proud to have, to have had that opportunity.
MUMMERT: That is a nice way to end this interview, but I'm not quite ready tostop it. Because as you were talking, and especially about the post office, it was amazing in my mind just how environmental issues and concerns have been infused throughout our society since you first became or worked at 01:26:00TVA. And I'm not suggesting that you had, were the sole person who had to do anything with that.
MUMMERT: But, when you began at TVA you indicated, you know, that environmentalconsiderations were kind of relatively new and then toward the end of your career, the entire U.S. Post Office and many, many other institutions that have thousands of facilities are doing environmental work to protect the environment.
MUMMERT: Quite a bit of time to have your own career grow.
ALLEN: Phil, that's a great summary. I mean, that's exactly, that's really whatit is. I was almost there, almost at the beginning in terms of some of these things, at the very, very early stage. We often forget, if you were around in the 1970s, how controversial it was to even consider some of these 01:27:00environmental applications of, of industrial work or anything. And by the time I ended my career, this thing had gone full, full course and almost every, every agency in the government, almost every company had a position called environmental compliance coordinator, environmental compliance manager, some unit that was responsible for ensuring that these issues were being addressed and being addressed properly. Still not done. The job is far from being done, as you well know. Things are even changing as we speak with regards to some of these requirements. But nonetheless, I think it's being incorporated into the, into the normal industrial processes and now it's no longer being looked upon as something on the outside. And it created a lot of career 01:28:00opportunities for a lot of people because of that. I being one who was fortunate enough to be there early on and to make a career out of it.
MUMMERT: I will end the interview right here. I'm going to turn the recorder off Rosie.
ALLEN: Thanks Phil.