TVA v. Hill

Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill

Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill et al., or TVA v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153 (1978), was a United States Supreme Court case. It is a commonly cited example of the canon of construction (expressio unius est exclusio alterius).

Background

The Tennessee Valley Authority started the building of the Tellico Dam on the Little Tennessee River and was constructing the dam when an endangered fish species, the snail darter, was found upstream. The Endangered Species Act had been passed after construction had begun. The dam would completely inundate the location where the snail darter was found, resulting in considerable harm to the snail darter.

Case

The Supreme Court affirmed a court of appeals' judgment, which agreed with the Secretary of Interior that operation of a particular federal dam, the Tellico Dam, would eradicate an endangered species, held that a prima facie violation of § 7 of the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C.S. § 1536, occurred, and ruled that an injunction requested by respondents should have been issued. The Court held that pursuant to the Act's explicit provisions, the survival of a relatively small number of fish required the permanent halting of a virtually completed dam for which Congress had expended and continued to appropriate large sums of public money. The Court noted that Congress intended endangered species to be afforded the highest of priorities and to halt and reverse the trend toward species extinction, whatever the cost because the value of endangered species was "incalculable." The Court held that the continuing appropriations for the dam did not constitute an implied repeal of the Act at least insofar as it applied to the project. The Court held that an injunction was the appropriate remedy because of "institutionalized caution" and the separation of powers.

Decision

The judgment finding that petitioner corporation's operation of a virtually completed federal dam would eradicate an endangered species, and that an injunction was the appropriate remedy, was affirmed because endangered species were afforded the highest priorities, and continuing appropriations did not constitute an implied repeal of the statute as it applied to the project.

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