I’m not sure what the benefits of leaving TVA would be, but the people involved are ringing alarm bells.
First, the idea the proponents argue that the city of Memphis would save $400 million if we left TVA, is not really quantifiable. It all sounds good. They say that consumers will save, which is always the promise on the front end. Environmentalists are on board because they think it will be help there, too, but how?
What they leave out gives me pause. TVA says that the city would have to issue billions in debt to build the infrastructure to do it at a price tag of $8.3 billion. That’s an enormous sum.
Who are the people pushing for us to leave TVA?
Franklin Haney is a Chattanooga businessman who owns Nuclear Development LLC, and the main actor behind this. He wants to buy nuclear power from an unfinished plant in Hollywood, Alabama, called Bellefonte. He doesn’t own the plant, TVA does. He’s tried to purchase it, but TVA has refused. Years of lawsuits have bandied the issue back in forth in the courts.
Do we want an individual to have control over our energy source?
Locally, others involved include Van Turner, Susan Thorpe and Steven Reid. Turner is a current Shelby County Commissioner and former head of the Shelby Democrat Party. Thorpe is a journalist who is also a Democrat (big surprise, eh?). Reid is a political consultant who helped Strickland win his two mayoral elections.
Aside from their leftist leanings, it’s disturbing that they are apparently hiding their lobbyist interests from the public. They’ve been working on Haney’s behalf since 2018. Last week, a judge halted proceedings that would have made them answer subpoenas about their role in influencing Memphis leaders on the issue.
Whenever people refuse to let you know what they’re doing, it’s not a good sign.
Also involved is Karl Schledwitz, who started up $450 Million for Memphis, to influence citizens to dump TVA. According to the CA, he says he is not connected to the Haney people, he just thinks citizens could save money. Schledwitz was convicted in 1992 for mail fraud connected to the failed Butcher brother banks. Why is he interested in this?
Former MLGW CEO Jerry Collins, he of the smart meter purchases and environmental proponent, smoothed the way for Haney by signing a non binding agreement indicating MLGW was a potential customer. After he left, J.T. Young took his spot and he had worked at the Bellefonte plant.
All of this is causing City Council member Chase Carlisle to wonder what’s going on.
According to the Daily Memphian, “Carlisle, during a May 5 council session, teed off on those competing for the coveted MLGW contract by saying he plans a resolution requiring many involved in the process to register with the city as lobbyists.
“At the May 5 council meeting, Carlisle told fellow members not everyone involved in the process is a ‘friend.’
“’There are people that are constantly working in the background giving bits and pieces of information because they have an ulterior motive,’ said Carlisle, who is one of those being courted and pursued. ‘They are not your friends. They are not here to see what’s in the best interest of Memphis. They are paid to work an agenda. And to be honest, it’s starting to be very problematic.’
“The lobbying effort outside MLGW has become so intense that Carlisle says he plans to introduce a measure that would require lobbyists to register with the city.
“’To all of those out there that are working as paid lobbyists, you’re on notice,’ Carlisle said. ‘I will be researching and coming with a resolution that you will have to register in the city of Memphis as a lobbying firm. I’m tired of people coming around like they are your best friend and then giving you information when they are paid to do so. Those days are numbered if I can legally do it.’”
That’s important, because this is one issue that every single one of us will be impacted by for years.
We need to know more.
Are Council members possibly open to bribes to get Haney’s project done? Will citizens have a say? Who will pay for this? Is the current system not working? How is it that environmentalists, usually opposed to nuclear power, find this OK?
The pandemic has shifted attention from this fight, but it needs to be examined thoroughly and not rushed through.