FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 4, 2018
Contact: Press@paul.senate.gov, 202-224-4343
BOWLING GREEN, KY – For the past several months, U.S. Senator Rand Paul and his staff have actively engaged in discussions with Kentuckians, officials in Muhlenberg County, and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) regarding the status of Unit 3, the last coal-fired unit at the Paradise Fossil Plant. Throughout discussions regarding TVA’s entire generating fleet being placed under review, no mention of a potential retirement of Paradise Unit 3 was made. Recently, however, TVA issued a draft Environmental Assessment on the potential retirement of the Paradise Fossil Plant.
Today, Senator Paul released the following statement condemning the move and calling for action to help protect Kentuckians’ livelihoods from federal overreach:
“It is absolutely unacceptable that unelected government bureaucrats can single-handedly decide which types of energy Kentuckians’ hard-earned tax dollars should support and ultimately be allowed to determine the fate of entire local economies without any accountability.
“Not only are the livelihoods of the over 130 Kentuckians employed at Unit 3 at stake, but also at risk are the trucking companies who bring coal into the plant, as well as the many related businesses and industries in Muhlenberg County. While the need to maintain a diversified energy production fleet that is efficient and profitable is understandable, the federal government has no business picking winners and losers in Kentucky’s energy sectors.
“When I met with Kentucky State Representative Melinda Gibbons Prunty, community leaders, and other fellow Kentuckians in Central City in October, I listened to their concerns about Paradise and promised to advocate on their behalf, which is why I will be filing a comment to TVA’s draft Environmental Assessment and sending a letter to the TVA Board along with other members of the Kentucky delegation. I strongly urge all Kentuckians to join us in filing comments.”
In August, Kentucky State Representative Melinda Gibbons Prunty spoke with a member of Senator Paul’s staff at the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s breakfast in Louisville and conveyed the concerns of her constituents in Muhlenberg. Since the first week of September, Senator Paul’s office has been in continuous communication with TVA, pressing for answers as to their intentions for Unit 3 and ultimately the fate of the Paradise Fossil Plant.
In October, Senator Paul’s office met with TVA’s Senior Vice President of Power Operations, Vice President of Government Relations, and Senior Washington Representative of Government Relations. TVA’s representatives stated they were supporters of coal and planned for at least 20% of their energy production to be generated from coal for the next decade. As stated above, no mention of a potential retirement of Paradise Unit 3 was made during the discussion of the TVA’s entire generating fleet being placed under review. TVA then proceeded to release its draft Environmental Assessment on the potential retirement of the Paradise Fossil Plant just before Thanksgiving.
The TVA Board of Directors will ultimately be the entity to decide whether or not to retire Paradise Unit 3, and when the TVA Board meets again in February to take action on this issue, it will still be one member short. President Trump nominated John Ryder to be a Member of the Board of Directors in February of this year. Mr. Ryder has submitted all the necessary paperwork, testified in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and been favorably reported from the Committee. However, Mr. Ryder’s nomination still awaits final confirmation by the Senate. Given the time sensitive nature of this situation, Senator Paul urges Leader McConnell to bring Mr. Ryder’s nomination to the Senate floor for a vote before the end of the year and fill this vacancy.
Kentuckians may submit comments directly to TVA HERE.