published Friday, January 4th, 2013

Cook: Alexander blacklists the expert

On Tuesday, our U.S. senators — Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker — made a damning decision that could cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives.

They blacklisted the most important member of the TVA board.

Her name is Dr. Marilyn Brown.

She has a vision of energy use in the South that is hopeful, realistic and economically responsible. An energy policy that is sustainable and affordable in the face of the new normal that is our climate-change-weather of more storms, more floods, more catastrophe.

But Tuesday night, Alexander (supported by Corker) sent a list of four names -- not five -- to be approved by the U.S. Senate for the TVA board.

They nominated an accountant, a businessman, the chairman of a financial services company, an attorney. Each quite good at what they do.

But the one woman with a global level of expertise about energy efficiency and climate change?

Nope. They left Marilyn Brown -- who's already been serving on the board -- off the list.

"We respect her professional credentials, but we encourage the president to send another nominee with credentials better suited to the TVA Board," the senators said in a released statement.

Her credentials? Better suited?

She won the Nobel Peace Prize for her 2007 work on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

She teaches courses on energy policy at Georgia Tech; at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Brown oversaw multimillion-dollar research projects.

She has written hundreds of publications, including the 2010 paper "Energy Efficiency in the South," which charts a promising path for the South: $40 billion in energy savings and nearly 400,000 jobs created.

By 2020. Through energy efficiency. With an initial investment expected to quadruple in savings earned.

"I think Marilyn is probably one of the most qualified board members that has ever been appointed," said Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. "Nobody else on the board has her technical understanding of the issues."

But she doesn't have -- the credentials?

"Their response was totally unacceptable," said Smith.

So why would Alexander not submit her name?

Is it because Brown champions the very things Alexander disdains (thoughtful, clean energy policies)?

She has supported nuclear, but not as the gospel Alexander proclaims it is. Instead, Brown believes in the long-term reach of energy efficiency as an answer to our energy and climate crisis.

Is it because Brown, whose main support comes from the Obama administration, is not a Republican?

Is it because Brown, an intellectual and courageous woman, doesn't always bow to the doctrine of Alexander or fellow Republican and board chairman Bill Sansom, whose background is military-, business- and transportation-based?

Is it because Brown, with two years of board experience, is now becoming a too-strong member of the board, suggesting a vision Alexander and Sansom aren't comfortable with?

"This is one of those things the senators thought they could do late at night and she would just go away," said Smith. "They need to be held accountable for it."

In the years to come, we're approaching an environmental cliff more troubling than the fiscal one.

It will cost us money. As tornadoes, floods and storms increase, so will the associated costs in damage control and cleanup.

It will cost us lives. As the climate continues to change, it will increase the amount of life-threatening storms, droughts, food price-spikes and illnesses.

But our politicians are playing politics with the TVA board?

Whose credentials should we really be questioning?

Contact David Cook at or 423-757-6329. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at DavidCookTFP.

about David Cook...

David Cook is the award-winning city columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. Cook, who graduated from Red Bank High, holds a master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For 12 years, he was a teacher at the middle, high school and university ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
WhitesCreek said...

Powerful piece! Thank you for standing up for the people in Tennessee. It's time to change TVA, in spite of Corker and Alexander obstruction.

President Obama must re-nominate Dr. Brown to the TVA Board.

January 4, 2013 at 9:53 a.m.
librul said...

Hear! Hear! I agree with WhitesCreek. We need qualified people, not political puppets. We have waaaay too many of them around already - the teabag Republican puppeteers and their cowering "moderates" like Corker and Alexander in Congress have demonstrated their "talents" by bringing the country to the brink of economic collapse, obstructing nearly every initiative of the administration which was elected by a majority of Americans, abusing the filibuster giving their last session the record among "do nothing" Congresses. They rubber-stamp unfunded, unnecessary wars and domestic spying, ignore growing environmental crises and fight to drive the middle class into poverty and eliminate the social safety net while coddling billionaires. I think, if they thought about it at all, they really wouldn't want "more guns" in the hands of constituents already barely able to make it.

January 4, 2013 at 11:16 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

JR, that progressive "bias" that you claim exists in most of our universities is only a bias because you wing-nuts see a liberal bent when in fact there is a quest for truth or when actual critical thinking is at work. If something does not fit within the confines of your narrow and rigid little conservative minds you immediately discount it as being liberally biased. Or worse yet, communistic or Marxist. Colbert quipped not long ago, "Reality has a well known liberal bias." He was being funny, of course, but he was also speaking truth. Oops. There's that word that you wing-nuts can't handle - truth. Where others see the obvious truth, you guys see a "progressive bias."

January 4, 2013 at 12:51 p.m.
Easy123 said...


You hit the nail on the head, my friend.

January 4, 2013 at 1:30 p.m.
Easy123 said...


I'm not a follower of anyone. I was commending Rickaroo for his accurate and truthful characterization of you and people like you.

I don't have to assume that you are patently ignorant, illogical, and moronic. That has already been proven. No assumptions required.

January 4, 2013 at 1:39 p.m.
Easy123 said...


Dr. Marilyn Brown has a Progressive agenda that is based on sound, concrete science and solid, real-life accomplishments. However, you do espouse disproven theories, conjecture, doublespeak, lies, deception, and propaganda.

Only the most idiotic of idiots denies global warming. You were in the running for that title before you made that implication. You're a shoe-in now.

Dr. Brown's resume would make yours look like single-ply toilet paper.

January 4, 2013 at 2:11 p.m.
Easy123 said...


Only in your warped mind is that a "nasty toxic blend". Educated people are the WingNut's Kryptonite. On second thought, I guess highly educated people are "toxic" for WingNuts like yourself. You and your ilk have a hard time indoctrinating educated folks with your lies, falsehoods, myths, and Right-wing propaganda.

Refer to Rickaroo's post at 12:51 P.M.

January 4, 2013 at 3:03 p.m.
Easy123 said...


How so? I'd love to hear a logical explanation about how my "panties are in a wad". Do you even know what that idiom means? I've shown no anger or frustration. I'm not upset either.

Don't project your frustration and anger on me, sweetheart. Just because you're being called out on your ignorance doesn't mean my panties are in a wad. If you had a speck of intelligence, you might understand how disconcerting the sheer volume of ignorant posts and the asinine statements you add to these threads are. It's impossible to deal with ignorance like yours because you have no sense of fact/truth/reality. You'll never observe the world around you as it truly is. You'll always be looking through those WingNut blinders and your stupidity will always leave you mentally incompetent before you've even left the starting gate.

I'd also like to point out that I'd much rather have my "panties in a wad" than my head up my ass; an affliction you seem to be dealing with on a daily basis.

January 4, 2013 at 3:44 p.m.
Easy123 said...


"Are you sure about all of that easy ?"

Do I seem unsure, sweetie?

"Bottom line is, if the Times and Cook think Brown is the second coming of Barack Hussien Obama"

Bottom line: Neither the Times nor Cook think Dr. Brown is the second coming of President Obama. Learn to read all the words and comprehend the meaning of sentences.

"she is not someone qualified to be on the TVA Board."

She's overqualified judging from previous and current members of that board.

"All evidence shows that she is simply an obamist,"

No evidence points to that baseless conclusion. An "obamist" isn't a real thing. You conjured it up in your WingNut brain. You are simply a moron.

"which means she only has her ideology,"

Most people only have their own ideology unless you're schizophrenic or psychopathic.

"and the concept of what is best for the people doesn't exist within her."

And this is a great example of another idiotic, baseless statement from you.

Let's keep going. I enjoy pointing out your idiocy. And you seem to have no problem making it exceedingly easy for me to do so.

January 4, 2013 at 4:41 p.m.
Easy123 said...


You are so dull.

January 4, 2013 at 5:33 p.m.
Shipper said...

Perhaps Corker and Alexander are concerned that any Obama appointee might want to shut down more coal fired plants than TVA has scheduled. It’s no secret that Obama wants to do away with coal as an energy resource regardless of the cost to the taxpayer or the economy.

It makes no difference if you are a liberal, a conservative or whatever party you represent, the simple truth is we are broke! The only goal we can afford to pursue is energy independence with existing technology to develop our own sufficient resources such as coal, natural gas, and oil. Nuclear energy facilities take too long to develop and current renewable resources are an economic joke. Virtually every renewable start-up in the last 4 years has failed with most bankrupting to the tune of some $80 billion of taxpayers’ money. Gasohol is the most proven renewable energy source; but, after 40 odd years of taxpayer subsidy dollars, only countries like Brazil that use sugar cane have made it economically feasible.

We have the means to become energy independent within North America in the foreseeable future. The petro dollars we will save from imports will enable us to develop more economically feasible renewable energy resources through improved technology. In the last 10 years we have spent more than enough money to be energy independent by now or in the very near future, but we continue to put the cart before the horse by wasting money on unproven technologies and “Don Quixote” resources.

Develop the Keystone oil pipeline, start drilling for oil and natural gas everywhere that is reasonable safe and practicable; and get to “Fracking”. Some day our world will run on solar and other renewable energy resources; but, until then, our economy will improve and your kids and their kids will thank you for not saddling them with even more debt.

January 4, 2013 at 9:37 p.m.
Easy123 said...

The ignorance is palpable.

January 4, 2013 at 10:29 p.m.
raygunz said...

Easy123 said...

The ignorance is palpable.

They' surely just trollin' you easy,right? Nobody is that ignorant,are they?

January 4, 2013 at 11:09 p.m.
raygunz said...

"They nominated an accountant, a businessman, the chairman of a financial services company, an attorney." Probably NO patronage involved here,right??(gotta LOL!"""""""""""""")

January 4, 2013 at 11:14 p.m.
librul said...

When you put a bunch of politicos and money-grubbing bean counters on the board of a "public" utility you get nuclear waste, regional resources threatened by multi-national corporations and public lands frittered away to land speculators and private developers. All in a day's work for Republicans. Maybe the massive fraud at Shellmound that has left public lands destroyed, developers in court and residents in homes they wish they had never bought is a good learning lesson.

January 5, 2013 at 10:29 a.m.
conservative said...

Did you ever notice that most of the kooks that believe you are causing and are respnsible for global warming will not directly state that? They just write as though you know that. Now if you know that then you are one sorry individual. Now why won't they state that as well?

January 5, 2013 at 6:04 p.m.
Easy123 said...

We all contribute to global warming, kook.

And you are a sorry individual.

Happy now?

January 5, 2013 at 6:21 p.m.
conservative said...

Mr. Cook wrote:

"On Tuesday, our U.S. senators — Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker — made a damning decision that could cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives."

Now, if you are going to expose yourself as a kook you have got to do better than that.


On Tuesday, our misguided U.S. senators — Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker — made a damning decision on behalf of Big Oil that will cost trillions of dollars and millions of lives.

January 5, 2013 at 6:25 p.m.
Easy123 said...

You constantly prove me right!

Thanks, kook!

January 5, 2013 at 6:29 p.m.
conservative said...

Mr. Cook if you will not take my advice try taking the advice of one of your like minded kooks.

Easy has written:

"We have utterly destroyed the planet.", "It's not just my position. It's reality" -

Now, see if you can out kook Easy.

January 5, 2013 at 6:38 p.m.
Easy123 said...

And I provided example after example. And you always just repost my words as if that's some kind of argument. IT ISN'T. You don't even have a rebuttal, much less an argument.

No one can "out kook" you.

January 5, 2013 at 6:45 p.m.
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