TVA – not important as a defense budget veto?

October 24, 2015

The president’s veto of a national defense bill partly because it goes around budgetary caps on defense spending should apply to TVA. TVA’s cap of $30 billion in borrowing is easily avoided by artfully ignoring a congressional mandate. This suggests the administration is picking and choosing mandates, especially those ideological programs. But this doesn’t let congress off the hook; just because TVA does not request appropriations, congress will have to pay “appropriations” in a big way after they have stopped “kicking the gnarled can down the road.” Ah yes, congress has forgotten its role of oversight.

With almost universal disdain, TVA has become the laughing stock of the nuclear industry, the whipping boy of how not to “run a railroad.” Warning, with the incompetence of government-run anything, how can the TVA or its predecessors maintain a safe nuclear environment forever when the hodge-podge of a nuclear reactor takes 40 years to complete? Mismanagement and its start-stop incompetence have shown the world how not to “build a better mouse trap” and if any other countries follow the U.S. model, they do so at their own peril. Speaking of TVA’s audacious “deal” with Google, TVA has gone completely bonkers.

Here’s what we know; TVA and its sound-alike private enterprise negotiations with Google in very secret emails, hundreds of them, (my, hundreds of federal employees worked so hard exchanging emails with Google while sworn to secrecy along with involved local representatives). It was all so hush, hush. But that’s not the catch; TVA actually disposed of federal property through a permanent “easement”, 350 acres of the Widows Creek site. TVA admitted this method of land disposal avoided those pesky rules governing federal land disposal. TVA has yet to disclose after over 4 months just exactly how much more TVA ratepayers have to ante up. Whatever the “deal” TVA made with Google, it has not been transparent at all. And the decision to go ahead with the agreement rested in the hands of part-time and appointed federal employees. State and local elected representatives were shut out of the decision-making process. In fact, the sovereignty of 7 states was completely ignored.

Clearly, TVA was way out of bounds; the legality of the “deal” has to be highly questioned as to TVA’s authority to make such a transaction. Where was the TVA Inspector General, the government’s watchdog, who should have advised of TVA’s shaky ground?

Still, the best solution in handling “deals” like that with Google is to let free enterprise do the competitive give and take; there should be no bargaining with the federal government. If for some reason there are errors made on TVA’s part by any of the hundreds of federal employees, you can bet that not a single federal employee will be fired, punished in any way, demoted or held liable; that’s the way the federal government works, not private enterprise.

All a sleuth has to do is to follow the money, the sizable sum of $10 billion a year. Oh yes, the flippancy of the way TVA handles the deadliest element on earth, nuclear, without finding a way to safely store the residue is criminal. Until a solution is found, all nuclear activity should cease immediately.

Norsworthy Opinion

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