Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on H. Res. 1224.
Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I will leave it to the gentleman from Tennessee to carry the major part of this legislation for which he is responsible, but I would just like to reflect on it for a moment.
I think it's very telling that we are here to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Tennessee Valley Authority, something that was created by Congress and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the Great Depression. They had a little different philosophy back then.
It wasn't shower money on Wall Street and hope things get better for people on Main Street and around the country; it was invest in America, invest in our infrastructure, build dams, roads, bridges, WPA projects. My region is a tremendous beneficiary from something called the Bonneville Power Administration, a wonderful gift that is still paying dividends to the American people that was key in our World War II effort and was there for the aluminum plants and for our nuclear weapons development
to end the war.
This is a different philosophy. Today, unfortunately, we seem to be going down the path that the way to fix the economic problems on Main Street in America is to shower money on Wall Street, buy up their bad investments and hope maybe someday taxpayers get their money back.
What if we took the $250 billion they are talking about as an initial down payment on this faulty plan and we doubled our investment in our roads, bridges, highways and transit in America? Would that put more people back to work? Would that instill more confidence in the American economy? Would that maybe even drive up the value of stocks on Wall Street? I think so.
I think it's incredibly appropriate that Mr. Cohen has brought this bill here to the floor today, and I thank him for doing that.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, an independent government corporation, was established in 1933 to aid in the development of the Tennessee River Valley watershed through the proper use, conservation and development of the region's natural resources. TVA is the Nation's largest wholesale power producer and the fifth largest electric utility. TVA supplies power to nearly 8 million people over an 80,000-square-mile service area covering Tennessee and parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North
Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky.
In addition, TVA's nonpower program responsibilities include the multipurpose management of land and water resources throughout the Tennessee Valley and fostering economic development. Prior to 1959, construction of the power projects was financed mainly by congressional appropriations. The power program is now completely self-financed through power revenues.
During the TVA's first 20 years, most of the power generated was hydroelectric. By 1950, with increased power needs, TVA began building coal-fired electric plants, and those plants now account for about 75 percent of TVA's power generation. TVA provides more electricity than any other public utility in the Nation and has an unparalleled record of reliability.
In addition, TVA is broadening its environmental stewardship responsibilities by increasing its use of renewable resources, improving energy efficiency, and working to improve air quality for the millions who live in the Tennessee Valley watershed. TVA constructed nuclear plants to supply additional power needs and just recently returned an additional nuclear power unit in Alabama, Browns Ferry Unit 1, to service to meet expected future demand in energy.
The agency spent approximately $2 billion to recover the facility, which became fully operational by May 2007. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved a 20-year license renewal for all three units at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant. [Page: H10138]
For 75 years, the TVA programs of navigation, flood damage reduction and power reduction have fostered economic development in an important region in the Nation.
I urge all of my Members to support the resolution celebrating the Tennessee Valley Authority's 75th anniversary.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. COHEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of House Resolution 1224, to commend the Tennessee Valley Authority on its 75th anniversary. My hometown of Memphis is the largest customer of the Tennessee Valley Authority. It supplies us with our energy.
The Tennessee Valley Authority over the years has had many, many great commissioners and has now a new form of administration. In the past, one of our predecessors from this House and the State of Tennessee, Bob Clement, served as a member of the board of directors of the TVA; and also a gentleman named Johnny Hayes, who passed away this past week, who was a great Tennessean and a great supporter of our previous Vice President Al Gore and a dear friend of mine.
The Tennessee Valley Authority was signed into law by Franklin Delano Roosevelt on May 18, 1933. At that time America was in the midst of a Great Depression, and the Tennessee Valley Authority was seen as a way to lift the country out of economic recession.
The establishment of TVA by the Federal Government was a sign of Congress' recognition of the importance of integrating regional and national resource management strategies and issues affecting multiple States. The TVA wove together Southeastern Conference members in a way that hasn't been done since other than the conference. More specifically, it was created to provide inland waterway navigation, flood control, affordable electricity and to bolster economic development in the Tennessee Valley
region. TVA also helped farmers improve crop yields, replant forests and improve fish and wildlife habitation in the valley.
TVA's facilities now include 30 hydroelectric dams, 11 fossil fuel powered plants and three nuclear power plants. It is the Nation's largest public power company and provides reliable electricity to nearly 8.5 million customers in the Tennessee Valley. Near my home is Pickwick Dam, also a source of great opportunity for enjoyment and pleasures for people wanting to boat and enjoy outdoor life.
Today, TVA continues to support navigation along the Tennessee River, reduce the risk of flood damage to the surrounding area, and provide reliable electric power to its many customers. It does so while applying a unique problem-solving approach while fulfilling its mission of integrated resource management.
TVA has proven that it remains committed to fulfilling the needs of the region's businesses and citizens. This has been reflected in the development of hydroelectric facilities in the 1940s to support the war effort and the production of aluminum, to its present day development of renewable power sources.
I urge my colleagues in the House to join me in supporting this resolution and honor the Tennessee Valley Authority for helping to meet the needs of our country for the past 75 years.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield as much time as he might consume to my good friend, the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Duncan) who is the ranking member on the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of Transportation.
Mr. DUNCAN. I thank the gentleman from Arkansas for yielding me this time. I rise in support of this resolution congratulating the Tennessee Valley Authority on its 75th anniversary.
First, I want to commend my good friend the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Cramer) for bringing this resolution to the floor. He has served with great distinction as chairman of the TVA Caucus in the Congress.
Since the Congress passed the Tennessee Valley Authority Act of 1933, TVA has played an important role, not only in the Tennessee Valley but in the course of the history of this Nation as well. TVA carries out its three-pronged mission of providing reliable electric power, economic development, and stewardship of the Nation's fifth largest river system by tapping into the talents of its 12,000 employees, many of whom live in my district.
Right from the start, TVA tried to establish a problem-solving approach to fulfilling its mission of resource management for power production, navigation, flood control, malaria prevention, reforestation, or erosion control, and each was studied in its broadest context. TVA weighed each issue in relation to all the others.
Today the Tennessee Valley is one of the most beautiful and fertile places in the Nation. With its beauty, hardworking people and abundant natural resources, the Tennessee Valley would have developed in a good and prosperous way without TVA, as did other areas of the South where there was no TVA.
However, the establishment of the TVA led to the development of cutting-edge fertilizers and improved farming techniques and helped to revive the Tennessee Valley and forever changed its landscape. With the completion of dams, TVA brought electricity and flood control to the Tennessee Valley, providing stability and vital insect control programs that helped drastically reduce deaths caused by mosquitos and increase the quality of life.
By the end of the 1930s, the Tennessee Valley was probably the most thoroughly mapped region in the country. Before long, however, TVA was called upon to use this expertise to provide then-General Eisenhower with the most detailed topographic maps of German-occupied France and, later, Japan during World War II.
TVA played an important role in the Manhattan Project, the development of our first atomic bomb. At a time when the enrichment of uranium in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, consumed around 15 percent of the electricity of the United States, TVA rose to the occasion and met those power needs and helped end World War II.
I am proud to say that TVA is headquartered in my congressional district. I am proud of TVA's president and CEO Tom Kilgore, and Chairman Bill Sansom, two good friends of mine, and of the leadership they provide to TVA in this challenging time for utilities across the country.
I believe as we move into the future and look for more sustainable sources of energy, that TVA will continue to provide the leadership to help the valley become even stronger and more economically vibrant. I can tell you that my region has become one of the most popular places to move to in the entire country, and that is in no small part because of the Tennessee Valley Authority and the role it plays in the lives of our citizens.
The citizens of the Tennessee Valley have been better off because of the work and historic mission of the Tennessee Valley Authority.
I urge my colleagues to support this resolution.
Mr. CRAMER. I thank my friends from Tennessee, and I thank the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee where I spent so many valuable years, the staff on both sides of the aisle. I have appreciated what you have meant to my congressional district and what you have meant to the Tennessee Valley Authority as well.
I rise today to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Tennessee Valley Authority. I think it's only appropriate that we do this during what we hope will be the last hours of this, the 110th Congress.
In the 110th Congress, I had the honor of serving as the cochair of the congressional TVA Caucus, which has existed since I have been here, before I [Page: H10139]
was here. I have been here 18 years. I have cochaired this caucus along with Senator Lamar Alexander from Tennessee, so we have had a House-Senate partnership there.
There are 41 House and Senate Members that comprise this very proactive Tennessee Valley Authority Caucus. As I look around the room today, many of our House Members that have participated in that caucus are here today.
My friends have talked about when TVA was created. Mr. Duncan, we know that TVA is wonderfully headquartered up there in your congressional district in Knoxville. When TVA was first chartered back in 1933, it was headquartered in the Muscle Shoals area of north Alabama, so we still reluctantly accept that you have the headquarters there that we had back when TVA was first chartered back in 1933.
Let's remember back to 1933. It was the Great Depression. At that time the agriculture industry, which was the bread and butter of the Tennessee Valley, had collapsed. Trying to make ends meet, the people of the valley had overfarmed their land, leading to widespread erosion, soil depletion and low crop yields.
As part of this New Deal program, President Franklin Roosevelt envisioned TVA as a different kind of government agency that could be backed by the power of the United States Government but also have the ``flexibility and initiative of a private enterprise.''
TVA was born, TVA has prospered, and TVA has done remarkable things for our area. We are economically prosperous because of the presence of TVA. They've built the dams, they've developed new fertilizers, they've been the lifeblood of partnerships with local and State government over economic development opportunities.
You can't drive through the Tennessee Valley area without looking around and seeing a much different and much more prosperous area than we ever would have been if TVA had not been the entity that it had been.
Now the TVA of today is not the TVA of the thirties, forties and fifties. We have a different board construct today. TVA is very concerned about the environment. It's looking at its plants, making sure that they are cleaner, more efficient than they ever were before.
Reflect back, also. After the war, TVA built a 650-mile navigation channel along the Tennessee River, allowing it to become one of the longest transport systems in the country. When we make our pitches for economic development opportunities, it is that navigational channel that is our strength as we acquaint those prospective new industries with what we have to offer.
In the 1990s, TVA began several energy efficiency and conservation programs. These initiatives allowed TVA to cut their annual operating costs by more than $800 million while still meeting the electricity needs of the growing population of the Tennessee Valley.
In 1998, TVA started a new $5.8 billion clean air program that has reduced their emissions by 70 to 80 percent. Additionally, TVA recently began its Green Power Switch Program, designed to increase the availability of energy derived from renewable resources such as solar and wind for customers in the Tennessee Valley.
TVA is also leading the way to clean and safe nuclear power. In my district, TVA is making great strides to increase our Nation's use of nuclear energy. That is a reality we must confront.
So I believe the TVA today, under the leadership of Chairman Bill Sansom and CEO Tom Kilgore, is ready and able to meet the growing environmental and power demands while continuing to be a valuable economic partner to the men and women of the Tennessee Valley.
Since I am leaving Congress, I want to thank my colleagues for serving with me and making sure that our TVA area is the area that we know it to be today, an efficient government entity, and that is not something you can say very often.
Mr. DUNCAN. I thank the gentleman from Arkansas for yielding to me one more brief time.
I rise to say it has been a privilege and honor for me to serve with the gentleman from Alabama who unfortunately is leaving the Congress this year. Bud Cramer and I have traveled many times together. We have become, I think, very close friends. It is interesting to me that our careers have been almost parallel. We were in law school at approximately the same time. We practiced law. He became a prosecuting attorney in his hometown of Huntsville when I was serving as a criminal court
judge in my hometown of Knoxville. He came to Congress shortly after I did. He rose to become one of the senior members and one of the most powerful and influential members on the Appropriations Committee here in the Congress.
I can tell you that I have respect and admire Bud Cramer more than almost anybody I know. He has been an outstanding public servant in every way, and this Congress will certainly miss the gentleman from Alabama when he leaves. I want to personally thank him for not only his friendship to me, but more importantly his service to this Nation.