4 months ago

Utility workers and service providers continue to power Alabama

Vast amounts of normal services have been interrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the situation evolves and uncertainty remains, one thing that Alabamians can count on is for the lights to come on when they flip the switch.

With many in our state working remotely, children engaging in virtual learning or caring for loved ones at home, it is imperative for the energy service they depend on to work. Additionally, it is critical that power is provided for the necessary services we are counting on to protect the safety and well-being of all Alabamians. This includes ensuring power is safely delivered to hospitals – rural and urban alike – that are providing care for those in need.

Utility companies have a long history of working to ensure the safety and comfort of the people of Alabama during times of crisis. Now, more than ever, energy providers are committed to maintaining reliable, safe and affordable power to businesses and individuals across the state.

Utility services are critical, essential services. The member and affiliate companies of the Energy Institute of Alabama (EIA) are proud to serve uninterrupted power during these uncertain times, especially to those in the medical field who are on the front lines battling this disease, as well as those most severely economically impacted. We are grateful to the heroic health care workers and to those who ensure power arrives at its final destination. There are selfless linemen, power plant workers, and support personnel who are working day-in and day-out to power our homes, our hospitals and our economy.

We can all take comfort knowing that our infrastructure is secure and that the state’s power providers share in a corporate responsibility to the communities in which they exist.

The member groups of EIA are willing to go above and beyond now and in the future. Our utility industry has always been willing to answer the call during times of devastation and uncertainty from hurricanes to tornadoes and everything in between. The COVID-19 response is no different.

Alabama Power has pledged $1 million from the company’s Foundation to community organizations and workforce efforts to combat COVID-19. Alabama Power has also partnered with the University of Alabama system, including the UAB School of Engineering and UA’s Alabama Productivity Center, to make medical face shields to help protect front line health care workers.

In north Alabama, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is providing $1 billion of credit support for local power companies as well as donating facemasks to healthcare facilities.

Additionally, local electric coops are providing Wi-Fi hotspots for students in their communities to continue learning through the use of technology. The EIA members groups know that increased connectivity is vitally important for the 21st-century world that we live in, especially in light of COVID-19’s impact on the remote workforce and virtual learning. Ensuring internet for all, especially in the rural parts of our state, will continue to be a major priority for EIA.

The crews and field representatives of EIA member groups are practicing safe social distancing and the companies have sought the public’s help to maintain safe social distances that allow employees to safely continue to serve customers, including during the around-the-clock work to restore power across Alabama following the Easter Sunday storms.

We are proud to stand with Governor Ivey, Lt. Governor Ainsworth Attorney General Steve Marshall and all our state leaders during this time. Our member utility companies in Alabama are continuing in their unwavering commitment to the people of this state. While this time is unprecedented and challenging for us all, utilities will continue to be the cornerstone that strengthens, and powers, our state

Seth Hammett is chairman of the Energy Institute of Alabama and vice president of business development for PowerSouth Energy. Hammett spent 32 years in the Alabama House of Representatives, including 12 years as Speaker of the House. Visit https://energyinstituteal.org/ for more information.

10 mins ago

Boeing submits Next Generation Interceptor proposal that would create Alabama jobs, continue to protect American homeland

Boeing on Wednesday submitted its proposal to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency for the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) competition, with the stakes being high for Alabama.

The company is proposing a design that leverages Boeing’s more than 60-year track record and unparalleled expertise in strategic missile and weapon systems.

The NGI will be the interceptor successor for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, currently the nation’s only defense program capable of protecting the entire United States homeland, including Alaska and Hawaii, against long-range ballistic missiles from threats such as North Korea and Iran. The GMD currently uses Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicles launched by Ground-Based Interceptors to track long-range ballistic missile threats and use collision force to destroy the target.

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Boeing manages the GMD program out of Huntsville as the prime contractor for the Department of Defense. The company has led the industry team since the inception of the program in 1998 with engineers and experts who work in Alabama.

The Missile Defense Agency put out a request for proposal on the NGI in April, saying that two companies will be selected to compete to build the final interceptor. That contract award is expected later this year.

If selected, Boeing will utilize its proven capabilities and a best-of-industry team, based primarily out of Huntsville alongside its Missile and Weapon Systems division headquarters, to ensure a unique, state-of-the-art offering is delivered on time.

“Boeing’s NGI proposal delivers unmatched performance, affordability and reliability for the nation and the warfighter,” stated Norm Tew, Missile and Weapon Systems vice president and general manager, and Huntsville site senior executive for Boeing. “Building upon our prior investments and proven technologies, our innovative proposal offers a creative, compelling and game-changing technical approach to outpace, out-innovate, deter and defeat rapidly evolving advanced threats.”

Boeing already directly employs more than 3,000 people in the Yellowhammer State, with approximately 5,400 employees and retirees being residents of the state. However, the company’s economic impact is much larger than those impressive numbers alone.

As of 2018, Boeing generated an estimated $2.3 billion of economic activity in the state annually. The company spent $606 million with nearly 200 suppliers, supporting about 18,000 direct and indirect jobs as of the latest available data.

The company’s NGI proposal could be key to continued job growth in Alabama.

“This program will create 1,000 new Boeing, supplier and other local jobs across the regional economy,” concluded Tew. “Boeing looks forward to continuing its strong relationship with Alabama, which spans nearly 60 years.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

25 mins ago

Navy considering Mobile as location to dismantle retired nuclear aircraft carrier

The U.S. Navy has added the city of Mobile to the list of possible locations for where it will dismantle the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.

The Navy has commenced a “scoping period” during which the feasibility of using Mobile will be considered, and public comments are being welcomed. The period for the public to comment will last from August 12 until September 11.

Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Navy will not be able to hold in-person meetings, so any citizen with comments or questions on the proposed dismantling will have to submit their thoughts online or through the postal service.

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As noted on the Navy’s website on the dismantling, “The removal of the nuclear fuel from the decommissioned ex-Enterprise (CVN 65) reactor plants has already taken place and is not part of the proposed action.”

If the Navy decides to undertake the method of dismantlement that facilities at the Port of Mobile are capable of providing, then Alabama’s port city would be competing with facilities in Brownsville, Texas, and Newport News, Virginia.

The Navy is also considering three other alternatives for dealing with the ex-Enterprise that, if chosen, would mean Mobile is out of the running.

According to the Navy, the Enterprise was first commissioned in 1961 and sailed over one million miles during its more than 50 years of service. The ship was decommissioned in 2017.

More information on the project can be accessed here.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

38 mins ago

National Right to Life Committee endorses Republican Jerry Carl in AL-01

Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl, the Republican nominee in Alabama’s First Congressional District, announced on Wednesday that he has been endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC).

Carol Tobias, president of the NRLC, stated that Carl is “a strong advocate for life” and supports “pro-life legislation, including the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would protect unborn children who can feel pain by prohibiting abortion at 20 weeks, a point by which the unborn child is capable of experiencing great pain when being killed by dismemberment or other late term abortion methods.”

“This endorsement reflects your commitment to strengthening a culture of life throughout the nation and in the U.S. Congress. We look forward to working with you to protect the most vulnerable members of the human family,” she wrote to Carl.

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Carl, after winning the GOP primary runoff last month, will face Democrat James Averhart in November’s general election.

“I am humbled to earn the endorsement of the National Right to Life Committee,” Carl said in a statement. “The NRLC has been a consistent advocate for the unborn, and I look forward to working with them to continue advancing the pro-life cause as we push back against liberal activists who are pushing abortion on demand. In Congress, I will work tirelessly to protect the most vulnerable members of the human family, and I will never waiver from my stance of being 100% pro-life.”

This comes after Carl last week was endorsed by the Alabama Forestry Association.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

July small business owner survey shows lack of optimism, increased uncertainty amid modest financial gains

In a July study conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), America’s small business owners reported a 14% month over month drop in their expectations the economy will improve even as many firms reported faring slightly better amid loosened coronavirus restrictions.

Overall, there was a decrease of seven points in the NFIB Uncertainty Index and a decrease of 1.8 points in the NFIB Optimism Index.

The categories in which businesses saw minor gains were earnings, hiring and capital outlays. NFIB State of Alabama director Rosemary Elebash focused on the positive aspects in her comments on the study.

“Our members are seeing positive signs of businesses recovering and operating while still under the COVID-19 emergency orders,” Elebash said in a release on Wednesday.

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NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg in a statement accompanying the release of the study remarked, “Small business represents nearly half of the GDP and this month we saw a dip in optimism. There is still plenty of work to be done to get businesses back to pre-crisis numbers.”

The NFIB report also showed continued demand for skilled workers that has not been met; 27% of businesses surveyed reported having job openings for skilled workers that they could not fill.

A release from the group highlighted that a “net negative 28% of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past 3 months.”

“Even with states reopening, sales are often lower due to business restrictions, social distancing requirements, and a still-reduced willingness of consumers to go out and mingle with the general population,” the report continued.

Elebash made further comments on the current state of the economy in Alabama, saying she hopes to see the unemployment rate continue to drop.

“July’s tax revenues grew by 4.27% after two months of declines. Alabama’s unemployment rate fell to 7.5% percent in June, a big improvement from April’s high of 13.8%, and we hope to see another drop in the jobless rate when July’s numbers are released,” she stated.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

2 hours ago

Ledbetter named co-chair of Tuberville’s Senate campaign

Alabama House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) has been named co-chair of Republican senatorial nominee Tommy Tuberville’s 2020 campaign, it was announced on Wednesday.

The former Auburn University head football coach cited the conservative lawmaker’s record of success in the State House among the key reasons for his selection.

“Majority Leader Ledbetter has spent the last three years working closely with Republican representatives and senators from every corner of our state, and the conservative reforms they implemented have made Alabama a better place to work, live, and raise children,” Tuberville said in a statement.

“His team built upon the GOP supermajority in Alabama during the 2018 campaign cycle, and his experience and instincts will prove to be invaluable as we head toward November,” the candidate added.

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Ledbetter joins Stan McDonald, a Huntsville attorney who has successfully helped lead the campaign leadership team, as a campaign co-chair. McDonald was chair of the pro-Tuberville Grit PAC before transitioning to the campaign itself.

Saying he was eager to begin working with the campaign staff to secure a Tuberville victory, Ledbetter stressed that the race is especially important since Alabama’s U.S. Senate contest could very well determine which party controls the Senate after this election cycle. The result could determine the direction of the country, Ledbetter advised.

Tuberville will face U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) in November’s general election.

“Since taking office, Doug Jones has voted twice to remove Donald Trump from office, opposed the nomination of conservative Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and joined the liberal faction that supports abortion and wants to grab our guns,” Ledbetter stated. “I am proud to help elect Coach Tuberville because it is time for Alabama to have a U.S. Senator who represents our conservative beliefs and values, not those of liberals who live in New York and California.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn