Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Eye Opener: More Woes for TVA

By Ed O'Keefe



An aerial view of homes destroyed when a retention pond wall collapsed at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Fossil Plant in Harriman, Tenn. (AP)

Eye Opener

Happy Wednesday! Problems continue for the Tennessee Valley Authority, the federally-backed corporation that provides services to seven southern states. At issue is the behavior of company officials after last December's big coal ash spill at the Kingston Fossil Plant:

"The utility's independent watchdog found TVA management has not accepted responsibility for decisions leading to the catastrophe. Instead, the report found, officials limited the scope of an investigation into the cause of the disaster in an apparent effort to shore up its legal defense in lawsuits," reports the Knoxville News Sentinel.

"The utility's actions, the report concluded, were fueled by a cultural resistance to change that looked at ash as insignificant."

An inspector general's report concludes that TVA leadership failed for more than 20 years to heed warnings that might have prevented the massive coal ash spill in Tennessee. It allowed company lawyers to stifle a $3 million study into the disaster's cause to limit its legal liability.

"The report also says dikes at coal storage sites at other TVA plants and elsewhere around the country could be at risk of collapse similar to the one that sent 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash spilling over 300 acres on Dec. 28," notes the Tennessean.

TVA has faced other Eye-opening investigations this year: A March inspector general report revealed that staffers made millions of dollars of questionable purchases on credit cards provided by the government-backed corporation, including X-Boxes and TiVos for an employee awards program and alcohol, beer and wine for training sessions and other meetings.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

House to Vote on Food-Safety Legislation Today: It would significantly increase the FDA's funding and authority to police food safety. Negotiations over the USDA-FDA regulatory boundaries didn't include Republicans, leading GOP lawmakers to oppose the bill.

Cabinet and Staff News: The entire Cabinet will retreat to Blair House on Friday and Saturday... Kumbaya! What might Energy Secretary Steven Chu's Facebook page look like? Robert Gates cites progress in U.S. troop drawdown in Iraqi cities. Janet Napolitano set to launch new anti-terror policy. Obama picks an OSHA nominee. Two Latin American nominees at the State Dept. clear the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Obama administration's war over China. Confirmation hearing for Peace Corps director nominee Aaron Williams scheduled for this afternoon.

Follow The Federal Eye on Twitter! Submit news tips here.

OMB Moves to Cut Outside Contractors: In memoranda scheduled for release today and in September, the Obama administration will outline steps it hopes will help save $40 billion annually through improved acquisition practices. Department and agency heads are being told to cut contract spending by 3.5 percent in each of the next two fiscal years.

Uncertified Guards Protected FDA Headquarters: At least 58 private contract security guards with improper credentials were reassigned from the Silver Spring facility this month after an inspection by the Federal Protective Service, according to two FPS officers familiar with the incident.

Immigrant Detention Rules Rejected: The Obama administration has refused to make legally enforceable rules for immigration detention, rejecting a federal court petition by former detainees and their advocates and embracing a Bush-era inspection system that relies in part on private contractors.

Wooing a Federal Agency With Billions to Invest: Charles E. F. Millard never reached superstar status. But he was treated like one when he arrived in Washington in May 2007, to run the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the federal agency that oversees $50 billion in retirement funds.

Legal-Aid Agency Hit for Wasteful Spending: The federal program that provides free legal help to impoverished Americans has spent tax dollars on a decorative natural-stone wall, no-bid contracts for consultants, alcohol for a congressional party and more than 100 casino hotel rooms that were never occupied

SEC Sues Four Over Real-Estate Deal: They're charged with alleged fraud in connection with raising more than $197 million from at least 900 investors nationwide in connection with a Phoenix commercial real-estate venture.

SEC Review Finds Its Stanford Probe Proper: The agency acted appropriately in its investigation of the alleged mastermind of a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, even though the probe took nearly four years.

Oil Speculation Limits Weighed: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission held the first of three hearings on Tuesday to explore ways to keep financial firms from amassing such large positions in energy markets that they have outsized power to affect prices.

FDA Deems Mercury Level in Fillings Safe: Silver dental fillings containing mercury are safe for use by adults and children ages 6 and above, the agency said Tuesday.

Obama Stimulus Buys $8M in Airport Spy Cameras: Five domestic airports will share nearly $8 million worth of new surveillance cameras, thanks to stimulus money from the Department of Homeland Security.

CDC Issues Flu Guidance for Moms-to-Be: They should be promptly treated with antiviral medications, according to guidance set for publication.

5 Senate Pages Quarantined In Flu Scare: The pages do not have confirmed cases, because doctors have not tested them for the virus.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 29, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Oversight  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Uncertified Guards Protected FDA Headquarters
Next: $100 Million in Savings, Pinch by Pinch

No comments have been posted to this entry.

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company