Alexander: Obama Administration’s TVA Proposal “Ill-Conceived, Reckless”

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) on Wednesday told the U.S. Department of Energy’s top official that the Obama administration’s “ill-conceived, reckless” proposal in the president’s budget to sell the Tennessee Valley Authority damaged the value of the utility’s bonds and failed to account for the impact to ratepayers, taxpayers and nuclear facilities.

“Did you know that, as a result of just the random mention of it in the budget, the Tennessee Valley Authority bonds lost a market value of a half-billion dollars?” Senator Alexander asked Acting Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman.

“I think there’s somebody with a green eyeshade down there in the Office of Management and Budget who just thinks it’s a ‘cool’ idea to talk about selling the Tennessee Valley Authority. We don’t appreciate that approach – it’s an ill-conceived, reckless approach.”

Senator Alexander questioned Secretary Poneman about the administration’s ongoing review of TVA at a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development hearing. The senator said that the loss in value to TVA’s bonds could drive up electric bills for residents throughout the Tennessee Valley, by making it more difficult for TVA to borrow money.

He also noted that TVA is the nation’s only supplier of tritium – an important component in the production of nuclear weapons – and will operate a small modular reactor that would mark innovation in the production of nuclear energy. Secretary Poneman said he had not personally been consulted, but said that TVA’s importance on a range of fronts would likely be part of the administration’s review. He said the department is “indispensably tied” to TVA’s tritium production at this point.

The senator told Secretary Poneman that TVA’s debt is not backed by federal taxpayers, and that TVA does not receive any federal taxpayer subsidy. He has also said that selling TVA could cost taxpayers money, once its debt is deducted.

Senator Alexander continued, “Don’t you think it would have been wiser, if somebody wanted to sell TVA, that they might sit down and have a private discussion about it first, rather than send the value of the bonds plunging?”

TVA has said it can live within its current debt limit, and Senator Alexander said the administration should consider reforming automatic spending increases on entitlement programs if the president wants to address the federal debt.

In addition to inquiring about the proposal to sell TVA, Alexander expressed his support for exascale computing. He also said he is supportive of the department’s energy hubs – and making sure all of them perform at a high level – and of the need to focus more resources on mercury cleanup at Oak Ridge.


Sign Up To Get The Latest News, Opinions From Chattanoogan.com In Real Time; Win Set Of Chattanooga Photo Books

Sign up for our Facebook and Twitter feeds and you will get the  local news in "real time." You will also be entered for a chance to win the complete set of the Chattanooga Photo Books published by Chattanoogan.com. We will give away three sets of The Remarkable Stokes Collection, Railroads In and Around Chattanooga and Paul Hiener's Historic Chattanooga to our new Facebook ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Area Under Tornado Watch Until 9 PM; Severe Storm Spotted

A Tornado Watch is in effect for counties in the Chattanooga area until 9 p.m. At 4:26 p.m., the National Weather Service issued a Severe Storm Warning, saying a severe storm was headed for western Hamilton County. The warning said: SIGNIFICANT WEATHER ADVISORY UNTIL  5:30PM EDT  FRI ...SIGNIFICANT WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SEQUATCHIE...WESTERN BLEDSOE... ... (click for more)

Tom Edd Wilson Was A Great Visionary

We want to add to the many heart-felt messages that have been expressed regarding the recent passing of Tom Edd Wilson, a truly great visionary.    While he made his mark on many local organizations, Tom Edd will always hold a special place in the hearts of those who worked closely with him at Erlanger.   We benefited greatly from his steady guidance, leadership ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Luther’s B-17 Showed Up

I am a huge sap for our veterans and just the other days a reader shared the ultimate story about a guy who returned to his sweetheart at the end of World War II. The little town of Miller. Missouri, is located in the southwest corner of the state and the biggest thing to ever happen in Lawrence County is when a native son, James Lawrence, hollered “Don’t Give Up The Ship” in the ... (click for more)

Inclement Weather Forces Cancellation Of Thursday Night's Lookouts Game

Not only was Tropical Storm Cindy responsible for the cancellation of Tuesday's Southern League All-Star Game, but now the storm has also resulted in the cancellation of Thursday night's game at AT&T Field with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. The First Half North Division Champion Lookouts announced that Thursday's (6/22) game has been postponed due ... (click for more)

Cleveland High School Selects Joey Knox As Head Wrestling Coach

Cleveland High School has selected Joey Knox as the next head coach for the Blue Raider Wrestling program.  Coach Knox has been with the wrestling program as an assistant since 2013.  During his assistant coaching tenure, the team has secured six Team State Championships, including five individual State Champions and 20 State Medalists.    Cleveland High ... (click for more)