News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Make TVA better in way it serves Tennessee Valley

The Tennessee Valley Authority may be changing in ways that yet are not understood, or developed.

President Bush last week nominated five people to serve on an expanded board of nine directors along with the three who directed day-to-day operations of the federal agency. The new part-time board will hire a chief executive officer.

The nominees include Howard Thrailkill of Huntsville, who more than some new members should know TVA's impact on the Tennessee Valley.

He is president of Adtran, and as a chairman of the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce, is active in Huntsville economic growth.

Things don't have to stay the same to remain good. Hopefully, with his leadership and that of the other new and remaining board members, TVA will find a way to broaden its non-power scope while continuing to keep electric rates low.

Appointee Susan Richardson Williams of Knoxville said she has a keen sense of TVA's past because her father worked there for 45 years. Its 652-mile Tennessee River system requires constant vigilance in protecting against flooding while aiding navigation and recreational uses and protecting the environment.

While 8.5 million people depend on TVA for energy, the agency has the capacity to be the nation's proving ground for many forms of experimental energy.

Hopefully, the new board will not forget that TVA brought this valley alive with the vision of a few people and the members will continue to invest heavily in research and development.

To narrow TVA's role to an electric company would be a tragedy. The United States has much work to do to develop alternative energy sources. TVA can help find ways to convert them into clean, efficient, low-cost electricity.

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