Obama tries again with TVA nominee Marilyn Brown

26. března 2013 v 4:20 |  solar photovoltaic system
Ingering Tennessee's two Republican senators, President Barack Obama again wants Senate consideration of energy-efficiency expert Marilyn Brown for a full term on the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors.

The nomination, sent to Capitol Hill on Thursday night, comes more than two months after Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker used Senate procedures to block Obama's previous attempt to appoint her to a six-year term.

Brown, who came to the board in 2010 to fill out a vacated term and served through the end of 2012, is widely recognized for her expertise in energy efficiency and other sustainable-energy policies. She teaches in Georgia Tech's School of Public Policy after formerly working for the Department of Energy at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

"This is another example of the Obama White House not listening," Alexander said in a statement Friday.

"I told the White House in advance that the TVA board needs a nominee with a better understanding of the relationship between low electricity rates and better jobs in the Tennessee Valley. The Senate now has the responsibility to exercise its constitutional role of advice and consent on the nominee."

"TVA needs leaders who enthusiastically support the mission of producing economical electricity and have an abiding appreciation of its important economic devel opment role and impact on the well-being of Valley residents," he said.

"Unfortunately, during my discussions with Dr. Brown, it was clear she does not share that point of view."Despite their irritation, the senators did not say whether they would again block her name from coming to the Senate floor.

But Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said the statements leave little doubt.

"I think it was a pretty clear signal," he said in an interview. But the two senators need to be even more specific about why they don't find her qualified, he said.

"If you are not going to allow it (the nomination), you owe it to the people of the Tennessee Valley," Smith said. "This doesn't make any sense."

Environmentalists were upset with Alexander and Corker in January because they wouldn't explain what aspects of Brown's background made her unqualified for a seat on the board.

Energy efficiency refers to a partnership between energy companies and their customers to provide the same service through the use of less energy.

Customers, often responding to financial incentives provided by utilities, take steps such as using more energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances, installing better insulation and window panes, and weatherizing doors. Utilities themselves look to run their power plants more efficiently through better maintenance and other steps.

Clean energy advocates see efficiency efforts and conservation as a means of making construction of new power plants - either nuclear or fossil fuel - unnecessary, saving ratepayers billions of dollars over a decade or more.

Criticisms of energy efficiency abound as well, including charges that the energy price savings achieved through efficiency measures just lead to more consumption - what's called the "rebound effect."

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