News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news

Bush's visit not open to public
Only dignitaries will meet
president in Browns Ferry trip

By Eric Fleischauer 340-2435

Thinking about calling off work to get a glimpse of the president during his North Alabama visit Thursday?

Don't bother.

None of the events President Bush is attending are open to the public, said White House spokesman Alex Conant, and he would not reveal any locations where people can see the president from a distance.

Air Force One is to land at Huntsville International Airport shortly after noon Thursday, where Bush will present the President's Volunteer Service Award to Don Clark of Huntsville.

Bush will tour Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant beginning about 1 p.m., followed by remarks on energy initiatives to credentialed members of the media.

Few details released

Security is tight, and the White House is releasing few details.

Conant said the public might catch a glimpse of the president if he goes from Huntsville International Airport to Browns Ferry in a motorcade, but he would not confirm whether the president would be in a motorcade or make the trip in his helicopter.

If there will be road closings surrounding the visit, don't expect advance notice. Limestone County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Randy King said he could not release any information about road closings because that might jeopardize security for the president.

Conant also declined to say what dignitaries would participate in the event. Some of the dignitaries, however, were more forthcoming.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, will arrive at his 5 p.m. reception in his hometown in style. He is accompanying the president on Air Force One from Washington to Browns Ferry (by way of Huntsville) and then from Huntsville to Mobile.

The trip may give the two plenty of time to talk about an issue that has them at loggerheads. Sessions has been one of the leading critics of a Bush-supported immigration proposal.

One senator quoted Bush as telling Sessions last week: "Don't worry, I'll still go to your fundraiser. We disagree about this, but we are friends."

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, will not attend the event because the Senate is in session, his spokesperson said.

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, will fly with the president on Air Force One to Huntsville, and then accompany him to Mobile for Sessions' reception.

Congressman Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville, also plans to attend.

Gov. Bob Riley will not attend due to a previously scheduled trip to Paris.

TVA President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Kilgore will participate in the event, as will most board members, said TVA spokesman Gil Francis.

Bush is touring the plant a month after the restart of Unit 1. Despite minor glitches during power ascension tests, Unit 1 now is operating at 100 percent power.

Bush has been a proponent of nuclear power as a way to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and reduce dependence upon petroleum.

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