Tag Archives: sell

Corker: Don’t Sell TVA… But Maybe Give It Away

Tennessee Valley Authority might be better off severed from Uncle Sam, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker tells the Chattanooga Times-Free Press.
Corker said he isn’t pushing to sell TVA to try to cut the federal debt, as President Obama proposed last month in his fiscal 2014 budget plan. With nearly $25 billion in debt, TVA probably wouldn’t fetch enough from buyers to pay what it owes, Corker said.
But new approaches for TVA, including converting the agency to a nonprofit corporation or transferring ownership to TVA distributors and customers, might help improve the utility, Corker said.
“I’ve not been comfortable with the federal government involvement with TVA and thinking that that is going to lead TVA to a great place,” Corker told the Times Free Press in a telephone interview Wednesday. “I worry that over time the fact that TVA is controlled by the federal government but in a laissez-fair manner could leave it less and less as an identity to drive economic growth in our state.”
Corker is splitting with most other Tennesseans in the Congress who have balked at a proposal in the Obama budget plan to conduct a strategic study on cutting TVA loose from the federal treasury.
“Reducing or eliminating the federal government’s role in programs such as TVA, which have achieved their original objectives and no longer require federal participation, can help put the nation on a sustainable fiscal path,” the White House says in its budget plan.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the ranking Republican on the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, said that spinning off the nation’s largest public utility could mean higher electricity prices for the seven states that the authority serves. Just the talk about selling TVA has hurt its bond values and raised TVA’s effective borrowing costs, Alexander said.
Even U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican who denounced Obama a “socialist” in January, said the president’s suggestion to privatize TVA is “unsupportable and inexplicable.”
The Tennessee Valley Authority no longer receives any federal funds and is an independent federal corporation that relies entirely upon electric ratepayers to fund its $11 billion-a-year budget. TVA does enjoy the implied backing of the federal government through its federal ownership, which helps the agency maintain a top bond rating and borrow money at a lower rate than do private utilities
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Lamar Defends Tritium Valley Authority, Needed for Nuclear Weapons

News release from Sen. Lamar Alexander:
WASHINGTON, April 24 – In a hearing of a subcommittee overseeing the Department of Energy’s budget, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said President Obama should seek the advice of his own energy experts on his proposal to sell the Tennessee Valley Authority, given its importance in producing nuclear weapons and other “national missions.”
Alexander, who is the lead Republican, or Ranking Member, of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, asked department officials to confirm whether TVA was the nation’s only current source of tritium, an important component in the production of nuclear weapons. He said sale to a private utility could endanger that purpose, as well as work on technology such as small modular reactors that would advance the use of nuclear energy.
“Is the Obama administration really going to sell TVA?” Alexander asked at the committee hearing on the department’s budget. “You might suggest to the president’s advisers that if he’s going to sell the agency that produces tritium – all of the tritium for our nuclear weapons system – he might get some advice from the Department of Energy before he does so.”
The officials, including Neile Miller, acting administrator for the department’s National Nuclear Security Administration, confirmed TVA’s importance to nuclear weapons product, and said they had not personally been consulted on the matter. Though her portion of the budget is related to defense, Miller said other areas of the department may have been consulted.
Alexander continued, “I would think that the Department of Energy would want to give advice to the administration about thinking through any proposal to sell our only producer of tritium.”
The senator previously said selling TVA was “one more bad idea in a budget full of bad ideas” that President Obama has proposed to Congress. TVA receives no federal taxpayer subsidy, and Alexander said that after deducting its debt “selling TVA would probably cost taxpayers money” and “could lead to higher electricity rates” for Tennesseans.

Police Can’t Destroy Guns, But Some Don’t Want to Sell Them Either

It’s now illegal for police in Tennessee to destroy guns they seize, thanks to legislation that became law last year, reports The Tennessean. But some police don’t want to sell them,, either… so they’re stockpiling seized weapons.
Some states, such as Kentucky, have been auctioning such firearms for years, bringing in an estimated half-million dollars a year. But instead, most police departments in the Nashville area hoard the guns, unwilling to sell them to the public, to the dismay of some legislators.
“Guns don’t pull their own trigger,” said state Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, who sponsored a stalled bill in the last legislative session to force authorities to sell seized weapons to the public. “There’s nothing wrong with them, they’re functional. This would just put it in law-abiding people’s hands.”
Though his bill failed, Campfield said it “most definitely” will be pushed during the next session. (Note: It’s SB402, never put to a vote this year and sponsored in the House by Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma.)
That prospect worries Jacci McGee-Russell. Her son, Marcus, 19, was shot and killed in 2008 during a robbery at a gas station where he worked.
“You’re putting back on the street guns that may have killed somebody,” she said. “Whether the crime has been solved or not, I think they should be destroyed. There are too many guns available to potential criminals.”
At stake are thousands of firearms used in crimes, millions of dollars in possible revenue and an unusual tension between lawmakers — some of whom are usually allies to law enforcement — and police.
“It is this police department’s firm position that guns used in the commission of crime should not be returned to the streets through auction or other means where they stand the chance of again falling into the hands of criminals,” said Don Aaron, spokesman for Metro police.