The future of TVA, by Bob Corker:
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."
A committee has approved the first rules for fracking in the state.
Fracking has been going on in Tennessee for about 40 years, but has always involved relatively small operations that use only a small amount of water and nitrogen gas, he said. The permit required has been no different from that needed for a standard oil drilled oil well.
In other states, fracking operations sometimes pump millions of gallons of water deep underground. The rules anticipate the possibility of such operations in Tennessee by putting extra requirements on operations involving more than 200,000 gallons of water.
In those cases, testing of water wells within a half mile of the site would be required and operators would have to disclose chemicals they use, except for protection of "trade secrets." The undisclosed information would become open only in special circumstances, such as an accidental release of the fluids.
The federal Affordable Care Act appears, in fact, to be linked somewhat to the president. When pollsters asked for an opinion on "Obamacare," 52 percent disapproved. But when asked if their opinion on the "Affordable Care Act," only 27 percent disapproved.
Support for the act was low in both cases - 17 percent for the "Affordable Care Act" and 15 percent for "Obamacare." As with the December poll, many respondents said they didn't know enough about the law to have an opinion.
The law required states to expand Medicaid, which operates as TennCare within Tennessee, with the federal government paying all the cost for the first three years. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress could not mandate such coverage on states, leaving the decision optional to each state. In Tennessee, expansion would mean more than $1 billion in funds to provide health insurance to lower-income Tennesseans who are not currently covered.
Haslam rejected expansion, but says he is still negotiating with federal officials and would accept expansion if some rules were changed - notably to use the federal funds to buy commercial insurance policies.
In the May poll, 60 percent of respondents said they favored Medicaid expansion compared to 51 percent six months ago.
Metro is catching the ire of some north side residents, as the government wants to dump some toxic materials on site (in violation of code, by the way).
The city wants to bury the materials, including arsenic and PCBs - a mixture of individual chemicals so toxic to the environment, they're no longer produced - right where they lie, just 300 yards from the Cumberland River.
The debris is located at what is left of a complex near Germantown no one was sorry to see go. Built in the late 1950s, the facility was where the city's water department once burned human sewage, then hauled the sludge off by the truckload to landfills.
But is this spot now about to become a landfill itself? The leftover incinerator rubble is no ordinary construction debris.
"It contains PCBs, lead, arsenic, petroleum-based soils, heavy metals. There's all kind of contaminants in it," said concerned taxpayer Ken Jakes.
And the city's plan, it seems, is to leave it, bury it and cover it up.
"We're talking 300 yards from the Cumberland River and 20-something feet below the water table. Right here at the Cumberland River, less than seven blocks from the state Capitol," Jakes said. "In essence, Metro is creating their own landfill."
And apparently the city is not following the very code it set for anyone wanting to build or tear something down, which states all construction and demolition waste should be disposed of in an approved landfill and no construction and demolition waste can be stored on the property.
- ALEX B FRUIN INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDACE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDANCE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; FRUIN, ALEX B TRUSTEE; FRUIN ALEX B INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC, CANDACE F TRUSTEE; STEFANSIC CANDACE F INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC CANDANCE F INHERITANCE TRUST
- ROSS, BRIDGETT D
- COOKE, ETHEN LANYARD TRUSTEE; COOKE, ETHEN LEWIS ESTATE
- JACOBS, JESSICA ALEXANDRA; JACOBS, ERIKA BESS