TVA

Biden appoints four to TVA board, including two from Tennessee

President Joe Biden has announced plans to nominate four members to the board of the TEnnessee Valley Authority, including two from Tennessee.

Here’s the details from the White House:

Beth Geer, Nominee for Member of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority
Beth Prichard Geer is Chief of Staff to former Vice President Al Gore and serves as a member of Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s Sustainability Advisory Committee. Geer has extensive policy and outreach experience on issues including climate change, environmental justice, and regenerative agriculture. She has served in senior roles in the Clinton-Gore White House, Department of Labor, and United States Senate. As a native of rural Tennessee, she graduated with honors from Middle Tennessee State University and earned the Public Leadership Executive Certificate from the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Managers in Government program.  She resides in Brentwood, Tennessee with her husband, Dr. John Geer.

Robert Klein, Nominee for Member of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority
Robert P. Klein is a lifelong resident of Chattanooga having attending Hamilton County public schools graduating from Tyner High School, where he was a member of the National Honor Society and National Beta Club.  He also attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Klein served in the Tennessee Army National Guard where received an Honorable Discharge.

He began his professional career at the Chattanooga Gas Company before continuing at the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga (now EPB) where he worked in the Overhead Line Department.  He completed the Joint Lineman Apprenticeship Program becoming a Journeyman Lineman in 1982.  He furthered his career by becoming a Line Foreman supervising the building and maintaining of the power distribution system. Klein took a leave of absence with EBP to work with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 175 and was appointed in 1998 as an International Representative with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).  In 2003 he was appointed as the International Vice President of the IBEW Tenth District, which consists of Tennessee, Arkansas, North and South Carolina.  He was re-elected as Vice President at the 37th and 38th IBEW International Conventions.

During his career Klein has served on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the United Way of Chattanooga, Board of Directors for the Tennessee Labor-Management Conference, Board of Directors for the Tennessee Safety and Health Congress, sat on the Tennessee Valley Trades and Labor Council, where is served as President for fourteen (14) years.  He also sat on the Tennessee Valley Authority Labor -Management Committee as well as on the Board of Directors for the Southeast Labor-Management Public Affairs Committee.  Additionally, he was a Trustee for the IBEW-NECA Family Medical Healthcare Plan.  He officially retired from EPB in 2011 and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in 2015.

Klein, who is known as Bobby to his family, friends and colleagues attends Silverdale Baptist Church and still resides in Chattanooga with his wife, Sharon.

Kimberly Lewis, Nominee for Member of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority
Kimberly Caudle Lewis of Huntsville, Alabama, is the Chief Executive Officer of PROJECTSYZ, Inc., a business that provides services and products in the areas of engineering, logistics, technical services, manufacturing, and international foreign military sales. She leads a workforce that supports federal and commercial customers across several diverse subsidiaries and at locations across the US and around the world. Lewis has a 25-year career spanning business operations and management, technology, and federal government contacting.

A life-long resident of Madison County, Alabama, Lewis would later become the first black female elected as Board Chair of the Huntsville / Madison Chamber of Commerce and most recently, the first minority owner of North Alabama’s only locally owned broadcast television station, WTZT-TV.

Lewis’ previous career roles and studies in healthcare and information technology set the foundation for starting PROJECTXYZ and where she was previously involved in management of large-scale IT implementations and projects for large healthcare companies. She earned a degree in Computer Information Systems at John C. Calhoun State Community College.

Michelle Moore, Nominee for Member of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority
A social entrepreneur and former White House official with roots in rural Georgia, Michelle Moore is a purposeful leader with a passion for connecting clean energy with economic growth. Her passion for community power and getting good stuff done is rooted in her faith and the commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Moore currently serves as CEO of Groundswell, a nonprofit that builds community power through community solar, clean energy, and resilience programs that share power, savings, and economic opportunity with more than four thousand families. Her accomplishments range from building the global green building movement as a senior executive with the U.S. Green Building Council to leading the sustainability and infrastructure delivery teams for the Obama Administration.

Moore got her start in sustainability in 1997 as Director of eBusiness for Interface Inc. in her hometown of LaGrange GA, where working for Ray Anderson showed her how to connect people, planet, and profitability and the pathway to “doing well by doing good.” Moore is married to Linwood Boswell, a local music mainstay, father of three, and community real estate agent in Richmond, Virginia.

Trump says he’s firing TVA chairman over executive pay, outsourcing

President Donald Trump said he’s firing the chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority over the compensation package of the public utility’s CEO and moves to outsource IT jobs.

The Associated Press reports Trump told reporters at the White House he was removing the authority’s chair of the board and another member of the board, while threatening to remove other directors if they keep hiring foreign labor.

“Let this serve as a warning to any federally appointed board. If you betray American workers, then you will hear two simple words ‘you’re fired,” Trump said.

The TVA chairman is James “Skip” Thompson of Decatur, Ala., one of four directors Trump appointed in his first year in office.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) in April pushed back against Trump’s attacks on TVA and Lyash.

“Attacking TVA doesn’t do one thing to solve the pandemic and has no place in federal COVID-19 response legislation. TVA does not receive one dollar in federal taxpayer subsidies or federal appropriations,” Alexander said.

The outsourcing of IT jobs became the subject of a TV ad campaign by the U.S. Tech Workers evidently seen by the president, who recently tweeted about the spot.

“Another one of many Fake T.V. ads, this one about the Tennessee Valley Authority, which for years has paid its top executive a ridiculous FORTUNE. Not run by the U.S., but I have long been fighting that crazy ‘salary’ & its policies,” Trump said in the tweet.

The leading Republican candidates for the Senate were quick to praise the president for his moves, though they focused on differing elements. Vanderbilt surgeon Manny Sethi, who has spoken out against TVA compensation since this spring released the following statement:

President Trump was right to take action on the Tennessee Valley Authority. Our public utilities do not need overpaid bureaucrats and executives. I am grateful to see the President take these steps because it will hopefully help TVA move in the right direction- towards transparency and accountability.

Former U.S. Ambassador Bill Hagerty appeared more interested in the foreign workers element:

President Donald Trump is right, we can’t outsource American jobs at a time when our unemployment rate is higher than ever […] Our power grid is an integral component of our nation’s infrastructure and there are significant national security concerns associated with outsourcing any aspect of software or IT management to firms that may be foreign-owned, staffed or otherwise impacted. We need to put the American worker and our national security first.

Harwell, Noland nominated to TVA board

House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) awaits Gov. Bill Haslam’s final State of the State address in Nashville on Jan. 29, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Associated Press)

President Donald Trump has nominated former state House Speaker Beth Harwell and East Tennessee State University President Brian Noland to the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Harwell decided to give up her House seat to make a bid for governor in 2018. She fell short in the the Republican primary won by eventual Gov. Bill Lee.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander said Harwell had worked with TVA on several issues during her time as speaker.

“She understands that TVA’s mission is to continue to provide cheap, clean and reliable electricity throughout the Tennessee Valley, and I know her leadership will be a valuable asset to the TVA board,” he said in a statement.

Alexander called Noland “a respected leader in East Tennessee [who] has helped transform Tennessee’s fourth largest university.”

“His administrative experience makes him the right person to help keep TVA on a good path – to continue to provide clean, cheap, reliable electricity at the lowest possible rates for homes and businesses through the seven-state Tennessee Valley region,” Alexander said.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports TVA directors are paid an annual stipend of $52,702. The chair receives $58,650 a year.

Sethi calls for transparency over TVA coal ash site

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Manny Sethi is urging the public to submit comments about the Tennessee Valley Authority’s plan to to open a 65-acre site near the Kingston Fossil Plant, first as a source for fill material and later as storage for coal ash.

The collapse of a leaking, six-story earthen dam in at the Kingston plant in 2008 released more than a billion gallons of coal ash. It is the biggest industrial spill in modern U.S. history, according to The Associated Press.

Here is the full release from the Sethi campaign:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Valley Authority is seeking public input on a proposed new borrow site, which would open a 60+ acre site on TVA land at Kingston Fossil Plant. There are fewer than 10 days left for the public to comment on the proposed site. 

Recognizing it is an asset to our state, Dr. Manny Sethi, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, believes TVA needs more transparency to serve Tennessee best.

“East Tennesseans deserve transparency. I strongly encourage Tennesseans to make their voices heard by submitting a comment to the Tennessee Valley Authority regarding new plans for the Kingston Fossil Plant,” said Dr. Manny Sethi. 

Below is Dr. Manny’s comment, which he is submitting to TVA:

It is important for the Tennessee Valley Authority to step forward and be responsive to questions that Tennesseans have about Kingston. After all the problems we have seen with mismanagement of facilities and clean up, it is imperative to get this right for the safety of Tennesseans.

East Tennesseans deserve transparency and detailed information from TVA as this process moves forward.

I believe that open meetings are an important part of transparency. I encourage TVA to open each of their meetings to the public. As Senator, I would follow the lead of the Tennessee Legislature in calling for TVA to have open meetings.

The borrow site will provide material for current and future TVA projects, including a storage landfill for coal ash.

To submit a comment, go to www.tva.com/nepa. Comments can be submitted through December 21, 2019.

 

Contract signed for work on unfinished TVA nuke plant being sold to developer; $5B in fed loan guarantees sought

Veteran Chattanooga developer Franklin L. Haney has contracted with a Canadian engineering company to handle much of the work needed to open at least one of the two reactors at the unfinished Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant that Haney is buying from TVA, reports the Times Free Press. And he’s seeking a $5 billion in loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy to finance the work — with support of U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.

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Small business group criticizes TVA plan to add ‘grid access fee’ to wholesale electricity cost

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s proposal to add a “grid access fee” to wholesale power rates is being criticized by a coalition of small businesses, reports the Times Free PressTVA says the move will make power bills more stable and better reflect actual expenses without raising overall rates. The coalition says it unfairly rewards big industrial users at the expense of small businesses and low-energy individual power users.

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Former TVA board chairman John Waters dies age 88

John B. Waters, who served as chairman of both the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Tennessee Valley Authority,   has died at the age of 88, reports the News Sentinel.

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TVA board nominee Ryder says politicking won’t overly influence his service

Memphis attorney John Ryder assured U.S. senators on Tuesday that his active involvement in Republican politics would not overly influence his decisions as a member of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s board of directors, reports Michael Collins.

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TVA’s $29M million aircraft fleet under attack (verbally)

A collection of consumer and environmental groups teamed Tuesday to blast TVA for spending millions on executive aircraft, contending they benefit wealthy executives, directors and business prospects at the expense of ordinary electric ratepayers, reports the Times Free Press.

TVA has spent nearly $29 million in the past two and a half years to buy nearly identical corporate jets and a specialized Mercedes-Benz Style helicopter formerly used by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

The executive jets and helicopter are part of TVA’s overall aircraft fleet of nine active helicopters, airplanes and jets (plus a King Air 350 plane that TVA bought for $6.5 million and is now for sale). TVA employs five full-time pilots and aircraft supervisors and spends millions of dollars a year to operate its own aircraft.

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Trump proposes selling TVA assets; Alexander and Corker say that won’t happen

President Donald Trump’s federal budget proposal calls for selling Tennessee Valley Authority’ electric transmission assets to help pay for a new $1.5 trillion infrastructure program, reports Michael Collins.

“The private sector is best suited to own and operate electricity transmission assets,” the administration wrote in the president’s proposed budget. “Eliminating the federal government’s own role in owning and operating transmission assets encourages a more efficient allocation of economic resources and mitigates unnecessary risk to taxpayers.”

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