U.S. Senate Confirms TVA Board Nominees

Guest Blog | December 10, 2014 | Energy Policy

The Senate voted tonight to confirm the nominations of Virginia Tyler Lodge and Ronald Anderson Walter to serve on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

The nomination of Ms. Lodge was approved by an 86-to-12 vote, following a 63-to-32 vote to end debate on her nomination earlier in the day. Mr. Walter was also confirmed by an 86-to-12 vote after a 65-to-31 cloture vote on his nomination.

Both nominees are Tennessee residents and made news ahead of the confirmation votes by taking the unusual step of pledging to recuse themselves from voting on any matters involving Franklin Haney, an attorney and real estate investor who has a long history of pushing for a deal to privately finance the completion of TVA’s Bellefonte nuclear plant. Prior to their nominations by President Obama in late August, Ms. Lodge and Mr. Walter acknowledged that they had held discussions with Mr. Haney or his representatives.

Ms. Lodge is CEO of FSI Inc., a Nashville-based company that provides supply chain and distribution services. She previously served as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health Services from 2003 to 2011.

Mr. Walter is president and general manager of WREG News Channel 3, a local Memphis television station. Before joining WREG in 1987 and taking his current position in 2004, he worked for Memphis Light, Gas and Water as vice president of customer relations.

Ms. Lodge and Mr. Walter will replace outgoing-TVA directors Bill Sansom and Barbara Haskew. Mr. Sansom and Ms. Haskew are currently serving beyond the May 18, 2014, expiration of their terms, pending confirmation of their replacements. Board members serving beyond the expiration of their terms may remain on the Board until the end of the current congressional session or until their successors take office, whichever comes first. Board members serve staggered five-year terms expiring on May 18.

Mr. Sansom previously served on the TVA Board from 2006 to 2009, and he served as Board Chair from 2006 to 2008. He returned to the Board in 2010 and served as Board Chair from 2012 to 2014. Prior to joining the Board, he has served as chairman and chief executive officer of The H.T. Hackney Co. since 1983. Hackney is a diversified company involved in wholesale grocery and furniture manufacturing.

Ms. Haskew was nominated to serve on the Board in September 2009 by President Obama, and she was confirmed in September 2010 following months of delays in the Senate due to anonymous objections that placed the confirmation vote on hold. She joined the Board in October 2010. Ms. Haskew previously managed TVA’s rate staff for eight years, and she has held various administrative roles and academic positions in economics at Middle Tennessee State University.

Both Mr. Sansom and Ms. Haskew have opposed Mr. Haney’s $11 billion outside financing proposal for the immediate completion of the two Bellefonte reactors.

The remaining directors and the years that their terms expire are: Board Chair Joe Ritch, 2016; Marilyn Brown, 2017; Lynn Evans, 2017; Richard Howorth, 2015; Peter Mahurin, 2016; and, Michael McWherter, 2016. A ninth director position remains vacant.

The next meeting of the TVA Board of Directors is tentatively scheduled for February 12, 2015.

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