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Rafting companies on Ocoee River reach agreement with TVA

Rafting companies on Ocoee River reach agreement with TVA (Photo: WTVC)

For years, rafting companies along the Ocoee River have had concerns that their business may not have a future.

The whitewater outfitters are dependent on the Tennessee Valley Authority for water, but the contract they've had with TVA runs out in 2018.

For five years, Keith Jenkins has been wondering if his rafting business on the Ocoee will stay afloat.

He and the other whitewater outfitters have been negotiating a longstanding contract with theTVA hoping to renew it.

It costs TVA money to release water that rafter use. Without an agreement, there's no guarantee of the much needed water for rafters.

Jenkins says other industries rely on the business generated from TVA's water releases too.

But now, the state of Tennessee has gotten involved.

Robin Peake with the TVA says when the state pledged taxpayer dollars, an agreement was finally reached.

Governor Haslam put 11.8 million dollars in his budget to reimburse TVA for lost power revenues.

Over time, the outfitters will pay that money back.

The new plan establishes a new fund which simplifies things for them.

Outfitters like Jenkins are now relieved that their source of income won't dry up.

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