As Andy Berke moves on to the next chapter of his career, recent news regarding the Tennessee Valley Authority decision to eliminate coal-derived energy by 2035, should be a reminder to constituents of how proactive his thinking was in terms of natural resources and environmental stewardship.
In 2010, Senator Berke took an ostensibly controversial position by opposing the mining of coal through mountaintop removal. His decision was principled and well grounded in the economic reality surrounding coal as a marginal and very costly (in terms of environmental impact and air and water pollution) energy source.
I applaud TVA‘s leadership for using the last decade to consider Andy Berke‘s well-founded position and to get on board.
Michael Mallen, environmental health and safety attorney
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As a retired TVA employee with more than 36 years of service, I believe I can safely say that TVA’s movement away from coal to other generating sources has absolutely nothing to do with Andy Berke’s position, 10 years ago or now. Rather, TVA’s decisions are based on sound economic analysis taking into account the cost of keeping aging coal plants in service (which includes environmental costs) compared to more economical sources, primarily natural gas.
Renewable energy sources are also becoming more economical, and hence they are becoming a greater part of the mix going forward.
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If I were a betting man, I would say Michael Mallen is pushing this hyped-up narrative so he has a front row seat to be Berke's future campaign manager...if not already.
Berke's legacy has more to do with crime increases, potholes, bike lanes and a TBI investigation.
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As I recall, during the last term of state Senator Andy Berke, he sponsored a bill or resolution that benefited the group I call the TIFers. That would include Mr. Mallen. The Berke bill or resolution was sponsored and designated Chattanooga foundry property as automatically eligible for post development property tax diversion through TIF, or Tax Incremental Financing. Various watch groups have a copy of the bill or resolution passed during Berke’s last term as state senator. It is an interesting series of fortunate events for the benefactors, and a sad story for the mere villagers that will be paying for municipal services when the foundry properties are developed.
Under the TIF designation bill or resolution by Berke, additional property taxes generated from the foundry property at post development would be diverted from the taxpayers to the TIFers. Then, municipal services to the new future development would be funded by the mere working class villagers.
Andy Berke an environmental trail blazer, not. Their version of environmental is TIF, making public money take a hop, skip, and jump to private benefit.
Signed, one mere villager,