New majority of Biden picks confirmed to US utility’s board

Dec 21, 2022, 6:26 PM | Updated: 8:31 pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed six long-waiting nominees by President Joe Biden to the board of the nation’s largest public utility, establishing a new majority with Biden’s picks.

The Senate confirmed the six by unanimous consent, Tennessee Valley Authority spokesperson Ashton Davies said. The federal utility’s nine-member board had been whittled down to five people, each appointed by former President Donald Trump, with two members who had been serving after their terms expired in May.

The seats come with five-year terms. But when a board member’s term expires, that person can keep serving until end of the current congressional session, typically in December, or until their successors take office, whatever comes first.

Environmental groups had been calling for urgency in the confirmations, saying that otherwise, the board soon wouldn’t have a quorum to conduct business and the utility’s ability to fulfill its duties would be hampered. Advocates also have been urging the new board members, when installed, to move away from carbon-producing electricity more quickly in a push to curb climate change.

The new board members span several states. Huntsville, Alabama attorney Joe Ritch is returning to the TVA board of which he once was chairman as a nominee of former President Barack Obama. Adam Wade White is the judge executive for Lyon County, Kentucky. Bill Renick is a former Ashland, Mississippi, mayor and state lawmaker.

Beth Geer, from Brentwood, Tennessee, is the chief of staff to former Vice President Al Gore and serves on Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s Sustainability Advisory Committee. Michelle Moore, who grew up in LaGrange, Georgia, and lives in Richmond, Virginia, heads a clean energy nonprofit after leading Obama’s sustainability team.

Robert Klein is a retired line foreman for the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga who also filled roles with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Three of the new board members’ nominations date back to April 2021. Two were nominated in June, and one was nominated in July.

“We’re excited to have Beth, Bobby, Michelle, Bill, Joe and Wade add their diverse perspectives to the TVA team,” TVA spokesperson Ashton Davies said in a statement. “We look forward to them being sworn in as TVA directors in the coming days and help us further strengthen TVA’s ongoing mission of service to the 10 million people of our seven-state region.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, on Wednesday offered praise for “finally adding a Kentuckian” — White — to the board.

“Wade’s heart has always been in serving his home state and his unique perspective will bring balance to the organization and its priorities,” McConnell said in a statement.

Three Trump-appointed board members will remain in the new year: Chairman William Kilbride, whose term expires in May 2023, and Beth Harwell and Brian Noland, whose terms expire in May 2024.

Environmental advocates have urged the new Democrat-appointed board members, once installed, to move more quickly in transitioning to 100% carbon-free electricity, citing the Biden administration’s goal of a carbon-pollution-free energy sector by 2035.

“We look forward to working with the new board members to bring TVA into better alignment with the Biden Administration’s priorities,” Stephen Smith, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s executive director, said in a statement.

Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, who has been a key critic of TVA during legislative hearings, said the new board should “act quickly to bring the TVA into the 21st century — moving it from a laggard to a leader in renewable energy so that consumers have affordable, reliable, and clean power.”

TVA has set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2035, compared to 2005 levels. The utility has its own aspirational goal of net zero emissions by 2050. TVA’s CEO, Jeff Lyash, has said the utility will not be able to meet Biden’s 100% reduction goal for 2035 without technological advances in energy storage, carbon capture and small modular nuclear reactors.

Meanwhile, the utility earlier this month recommended replacing the aging coal-burning Cumberland Fossil Plant in Tennessee with natural gas. Last year, TVA’s board delegated any decision on Cumberland’s replacement to Lyash.

TVA provides electricity for 153 local power companies serving 10 million people in Tennessee and parts of six surrounding states, in addition to large industrial customers and federal operations.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Jorge Carballo, one of the top administrators at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, is s...
Associated Press

Hurricane deaths at nursing home: accident or manslaughter?

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla (AP) — A Florida nursing home administrator charged with causing the overheating deaths of nine patients after Hurricane Irma in 2017 went on trial Monday, with a prosecutor calling him a “captain who abandoned ship” while his attorney said he’s a “scapegoat” for failures of the electric company to restore power. Prosecutor […]
13 hours ago
FILE - This Oct. 3, 2012 file photo shows the Jim Beam visitors center at its central distillery in...
Associated Press

Kentucky Bourbon Trail attendance reaches record heights

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Bourbon tourism reached new heights last year in Kentucky, where visitors flocked to large and small distilleries as the whiskey-making attractions shook off any pandemic-era hangover. Attendance at distilleries along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail surpassed 2 million in 2022 for the first time ever, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced. Venerable bourbon […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

AMC to charge more for good seats in movie theaters

NEW YORK (AP) — Middle seats at many U.S. movie theaters just got more expensive. AMC Theaters, the nation’s largest movie theater chain, on Monday unveiled a new pricing scheme in which seat location determines how much your movie ticket costs. Seats in the middle of the auditorium will cost a dollar or two more, […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Legal sizes for lobsters could change to protect population

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The rules about the minimum and maximum sizes of lobsters that can be trapped off New England could soon become stricter, potentially bringing big changes to one of the most valuable seafood industries in the country. Fishers are required to measure lobsters from eyes to tail and must throw back the […]
13 hours ago
FILE - Facebook's Meta logo sign is seen at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. on Oct. ...
Associated Press

Meta to buy VR startup Within after favorable court ruling

A federal judge has sided with Facebook parent Meta and cleared the way for the company to buy virtual reality startup Within Unlimited, the maker of the popular fitness app Supernatural. Federal antitrust regulators had sought to block the acquisition on the grounds that it would hurt competition in the emerging virtual reality market. But […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Russia’s revenue falls sharply in January from year earlier

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s finance ministry said Monday that budget revenue in January was 35% lower compared with the same month in 2022, the last month before Russia sent troops into Ukraine. The ministry also said the budget deficit for January was 1.77 trillion rubles ($23.9 billion), about 60% of the shortfall that had been […]
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
New majority of Biden picks confirmed to US utility’s board