Saturday, December 27, 2008

Has Lamar Alexander already made his allegiance to the coal industry and to TVA coal ash clear?

Another day passes after the TVA's sludge flooded the neighborhoods of Kingston in Roane County, and Tennessee's Republican Senator Lamar Alexander has not made any sort of public statement about the risks of an industry he seems to have championed at the expense of greener others:
[GE] sold $1 billion of wind turbines this year, will sell $2 billion next year and just announced a 300 percent increase in their revenues in 2004 over their first year of operations in 2002. In a speech on May 9th, announcing a new campaign from GE focused on increasing commitments to clean energy technologies, Jeffrey Immelt GE's CEO mentioned possible future 'carbon constraints', which GE is trying to build technologies to prepare for.

"Four days later, on May 13th, Sen. Alexander gives a speech blasting the wind industry, and introduces a bill removing subsidies for all offshore wind, the area which GE's technologies lead the world," Kempton said. "It is either very odd timing, or the fossil fuel lobbyists are quick at running their bills and speeches through friendly Senators' offices."

Other indicators that Senator Alexander may be timid about alienating the coal industry: he also defends a recent pay raise for the TVA executive even as we sink further into recession, and he obstructed congressional appointments using TVA appointments as his rationale earlier this year.

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