Tennessee Members of Congress Urge Administration to Reconsider Proposal to Sell TVA Transmission Lines

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United States Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Representatives Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Chuck Fleishmann (R-Tenn.), David Kustoff (R-Tenn.), Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and John Rose (R-Tenn.) today sent a letter to President Trump urging the administration to reconsider its proposal to sell the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) transmissions assets.

"We strongly oppose the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) proposal to sell the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) transmission assets. Last year, OMB also recommended selling TVA's transmission assets, and the proposal was soundly rejected by Congress. Similar proposals under previous administrations to sell TVA or its assets have only undermined TVA's credit, raised interest rates on the agency's debt, discouraged investment and threatened to increase electric bills for 9 million ratepayers we represent. ...Not only is TVA among the most reliable utilities, but TVA has among the lowest power rates in the country. TVA's ability to provide reliable, affordable power is essential to the TVA region's families and businesses."

Alexander has called the proposal to sell the Tennessee Valley Authority's transmissions lines "a looney idea with zero chance of becoming law."

The letter reads in full:

April 4, 2019

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump:

We strongly oppose the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) proposal to sell the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) transmission assets. Last year, OMB also recommended selling TVA's transmission assets and the proposal was soundly rejected by Congress. Similar proposals under previous administrations to sell TVA or its assets have only undermined TVA's credit, raised interest rates on the agency's debt, discouraged investment, and threatened to increase electric bills for 9 million ratepayers we represent.

TVA does not receive any federal taxpayer subsidy or federal appropriations, and TVA's debt is not backed by federal taxpayers. TVA's transmission assets that the budget request proposes to sell, include more than 16,000 miles of line paid for by TVA ratepayers - not by federal taxpayers. If TVA were forced to sell these assets, it would severely hamper TVA's ability to serve businesses and families in our states.

Not only is TVA among the most reliable utilities, but TVA has among the lowest power rates in the country. TVA's ability to provide reliable, affordable power is essential to the TVA region's families and businesses. Over the last six years, TVA has supported the creation or retention of more than 450,000 jobs and more than $55 billion in new capital investment in our region.

TVA's leadership has put the utility on firm ground and TVA is already taking action to be competitive in the future. To fulfill its mission to provide "safe, clean, reliable and affordable power for the region's homes and businesses," it has opened the first nuclear power reactor in the 21st century. It has placed pollution control equipment on all its coal plants - so that coal remains a viable part of TVA's power generation - and it is completing new natural gas plants. TVA has done this while reducing its debt and reducing electric rates, which is good news for jobs and economic development in the Tennessee Valley.

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Lamar Alexander, President Trump, sell transmission lines, Tennessee Valley, TVA, Washington, WGNS
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