After Bellefonte Nuclear Plant deal ‘setback,’ developer Frank Haney sues TVA
Late Friday, TVA issued a statement announcing Nuclear Development LLC, the prospective buyer of Jackson County’s long-dormant Bellefonte nuclear power plant, was unable to meet “its legal obligations” required to complete a $111 million sale.
The sale was due to be completed by Nuclear Development on Friday and is viewed by many to be a significant setback to the decades-long on-again, off-again ordeal of TVA’s Bellefonte facility.
“Nuclear Development did not complete the necessary [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] license transfer prior to the closing date as required by the Atomic Energy Act,” the statement explained.
This is not the end for Nuclear Development’s Bellefonte.
Almost immediately after the announcement, attorneys for Franklin Haney, a Chattanooga developer who is a principal with Nuclear Development, announced a lawsuit against TVA for illegally blocking the sale.
According to a report from Chattanooga, Tenn.’s Times Free Press, a 14-page lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Huntsville arguing the basis of TVA rejection of the Nuclear Development’s purchase, which is an application of the Atomic Energy Act, was “erroneous.”
“The transfer of the Bellefonte site and its improvements in their current condition to Nuclear Development does not violate the NRC permits, the NRC regulations or the Atomic Energy Act,” Caine O’Rear III, a Mobile attorney who filed the lawsuit Friday on behalf of Haney said to the Times Free Press. “Moreover, the transfer of the NRC permits is not a prerequisite to closing under the contract.”
Nuclear Development won a 2016 auction with a $111 million winning bid to purchase Bellefonte and was prepared to close the sale on Friday.
In a text message to Yellowhammer News, State Sen. Steve Livington (R-Scottsboro) called it a setback and applied a quote from New York Yankees great Yogi Berra to the situation.
Byrne first to officially declare run vs. Doug Jones – ‘Future is too important to sit on the sidelines’
Just down the street from where he grew up, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) announced Wednesday evening his candidacy for the United States Senate while surrounded by family, friends and supporters gathered at Wintzell’s Oyster House in beautiful downtown Mobile.
Byrne became the first candidate to officially announce a run against the incumbent from Mountain Brook, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL). In doing so, Byrne made clear his campaign will focus on his record as a fighter for Alabama’s values, drawing a clear and direct contrast between his traditional Yellowhammer State roots and the “radical policies” being pushed by Jones’ Democratic Party.
In his announcement speech, Byrne emphasized, “The fight for America’s future is too important to sit on the sidelines. I am running for the United States Senate to defend the values important to Alabama.”
The congressman spoke about the “disconnect” between hardworking, everyday Alabamians and people stuck in the bubble of Washington, D.C.
Byrne urged attendees, “Look in Washington and tell me you don’t see people that have a vision that’s fundamentally at odds with what America is.”
“We need a Senator who will fight with President Trump to defend the Constitution, build the wall, stand up for the unborn, push for lower taxes, make health care more affordable and protect the Second Amendment,” he outlined. “I will fight every day to bring Alabama’s conservative values to Washington.”
Answering questions from reporters following the announcement, Byrne decried the Democratic Party’s embrace of socialism and “[killing] babies as they’re delivered.”
He also warned voters that Democrats should be expected to try and interfere in the Republican primary through “fake news” and manipulative social media efforts. This comes in the wake of revelations that “Project Birmingham” was orchestrated to aid Jones’ general election candidacy in 2017.
Byrne, a labor-employment attorney by trade, is the former chancellor of the state’s community college system and one-term member of the state senate. He has served southwest Alabama in Congress since January 2014.
The Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in Alabama will be held March 3, 2020, with the general election to follow in November.
Ivey announces plan to turn old Jefferson County mine into technology park with $85 million economic impact
Alabama is working again — including in places that have been dormant for decades.
Governor Kay Ivey, the Alabama Department of Labor’s (ADOL) Abandoned Mine Land Program (AML) and United States Steel Corporation (U.S. Steel) announced Wednesday that long-abandoned mine land in Jefferson County will be reclaimed, making way for the new Grand River Technology Park project and relocation of the Southern Museum of Flight.
“This reclamation project has the potential to bring millions of dollars in economic impact, and hundreds of jobs to the Greater Birmingham area,” Ivey said in a press release. “The new Grand River Technology Park will be a regional nexus for research and development, tourism, and light manufacturing. This project will bring positive improvements to the citizens who call this community home.”
This project, which is expected to generate an economic impact of more than $85 million, has been made possible through funds appropriated from the U.S. Treasury through the AML Pilot Program Grant. The funding was secured by the stalwart leadership of Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), the powerful chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Shelby said he is looking “forward to witnessing the impact it will have on the state.”
The senator said, “The Grand River Technology Park project will attract new businesses and promote economic development throughout the Birmingham area. I am proud that the AML Pilot grant funds I worked to secure have helped make this effort possible and look forward to witnessing the impact it will have on the state.”
The project is possible through a collaborative public-private effort and includes participation by ADOL’s AML Program, U. S. Steel, the City of Birmingham, the Southern Museum of Flight, Jefferson County and the City of Leeds.
In 2018, U. S. Steel and its community partners were given approval for a $6 million grant by the ADOL AML Pilot Program toward the development of its Grand River Technology Park.
“We are pleased to see the redevelopment of this land. We are grateful for the partnership of Governor Ivey, [ADOL] Secretary Washington, and the AML staff during this process and thank Senator Shelby for securing AML Pilot grant funds. We look forward to providing quality economic and community development projects that will benefit the Birmingham community,” U. S. Steel President and CEO David B. Burritt commented.
The technology park represents a multiphase opportunity to reclaim and transform approximately 105 acres of undeveloped land surrounding and including several pre-1977 abandoned coal mine lands in east Jefferson County. An initial assessment conservatively estimated that 1,200 new employment opportunities will be created by this project.
Dangerous abandoned mine land features previously reclaimed on the property included many portals (openings to old underground coal mines) and vertical openings (former air shafts associated with underground coal mines) connected with Red Diamond Mines #2 – #5, #7, #9, #11 and #12, as well as the former Tennessee Coal and Iron (TCI) Mine #6, all of which ceased operations in 1948.
After the closure of these underground mines, a major portion of proposed development was strip-mined for coal prior to August 3, 1977, leaving extensive spoil piles (waste rock and soil overburden removed to access the coal seam) on the property and a highwall cut (a hazardous vertical bluff left where mining of the coal seam ceased) adjacent to the current location of the Barber Motor Sports Park. Evidence of the highwall cut and spoil piles still remain on the property today. As part of the redevelopment of the property, extensive reclamation will be performed on these remaining spoil piles.
“Our Abandoned Mine Land Program does a wonderful job in helping to ensure that old, dangerous mines are properly reclaimed, which eliminates safety hazards and allows the land to be redeveloped,” ADOL Secretary Fitzgerald Washington advised. “In addition to cleaning up this site and making it safer, this project will help to improve the lives of many.”
To date, the ADOL AML Program has reclaimed 81.6 miles of dangerous highwalls, eliminated 1,613 dangerous mine openings and completed approximately 661 reclamation projects in the coalfields of Alabama.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn
Alabama law requires the state and local governments fund The Democrat-Reporter’s racist rants — It is time to stop
Almost every politician in Alabama wanted to get in on condemning, and in some cases calling for the resignation of the editor, publisher and owner of a rag out of Linden, Alabama, with roughly 3,000 subscribers.
The governor, both United States senators, multiple congressmen and congresswomen, the State Senate pro tem, the lieutenant governor and surely countless others went on the record to say this is unacceptable.
It is obviously unacceptable, but now what? You can’t really force a guy who owns a newspaper to quit. Especially when he seems to think he has done nothing wrong.
All of this is a minor problem. The Democrat-Reporter is a small-town nothing newspaper. If the Auburn Plainsman hadn’t posted the editorial in the form of a photo, no one would have ever known.
This raises another issue. The state of Alabama is providing revenue to this newspaper and other newspapers around the state of Alabama. And it is actually worse than that: Current state law requires government entities in Alabama to advertise legal notices, legislation, constitutional amendments, voter rolls and other public matters in the local print media outlets, which is not cheap.
So, how much does The Democrat-Reporter get from the governments?
Well, the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) alone spends thousands every year.
Maybe these aren’t all required expenditures, but for what other reason would ALDOT be spending this money here?
What have the local governments been required to pay this newspaper? What about average citizens and businesses that have to post foreclosures, abandoned property and other matters in a local newspaper by state law?
Even without the racist overtones of this story, this matter should offend you. There is currently a state law that requires we do business with a series of private entities.
This may have been a necessity decades ago, but it is time for the state legislature to readdress this issue for the 21st century.