The United States Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate and Nuclear Safety met on September 7 to consider President Joe Biden’s nominations of William J. Renick, Adam Wade White and Joe H. Ritch to serve on the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors.
A series of delays, including Senate pushback to request more geographic diversity in nominees, held up confirmation of four board nominations by President Biden in 2021. Additionally, one of the President’s original nominees removed herself from consideration in order to run for the Alabama state senate. The three remaining nominees— Robert P. Klein, of Chattanooga, a former international vice president for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union; Beth Prichard Geer, of Brentwood, Tennessee, who was previously chief of staff to former Vice President Al Gore; and Michelle Moore of Richmond, Virginia, a former White House official who serves as CEO of the nonprofit organization Groundswell – faced their confirmation hearing in May of this year.
With two current board members leaving following the scheduled November 10 board meeting, confirmation of Biden’s previous nominees and the three current nominees is vital to maintaining the five-member quorum required to conduct business.
Wednesday’s hearing saw members of the committee questioning nominees about their commitment to fortifying the Tennessee Valley’s grid resilience and their support for increasing clean energy sources, including a push from Ranking Member Jim Inhofe to continue the inclusion of nuclear power and a push from both Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to increase construction and generation of solar and wind power with Chairman Markey noting that Massachusetts currently generates 21 percent of its electricity from solar energy compared to just three percent solar generation by TVA.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also testified to the committee in support of Adam Wade White’s nomination, with Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Al) voicing his support for Joe Ritch’s nomination, and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) giving an endorsement for Bill Renick. All three nominees appeared to have bipartisan support from the committee. A confirmation vote has not yet been scheduled, however, members of the committee will be able to submit additional written questions for the nominees until September 9, with responses due September 14. If passed out of committee, the full slate of nominees could be approved by the Senate as early as next week or following a fall recess.
About the Nominees
Bill Renick currently serves as the chair of the Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi. He has previously served as director of the workforce division for the Northeast Mississippi-based Three Rivers Planning and Development District.
Adam Wade White, Lyon County Judge-Executive, put forth by Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, has actively protected Kentucky’s waterways and launched a campaign to eradicate the invasive Asian carp from Kentucky lakes.
Huntsville, Ala., attorney Joe H. Ritch served on the TVA board from 2013-2017, serving as board chairman from 2014 to the end of his term. Ritch is well-known for his work as chairman of the Redstone Regional Alliance, which supports the growth of space and defense industries in the Huntsville-Madison County, Ala. region.