President-elect Donald Trump will get an immediate opportunity to reshape the panel that governs Tennessee's power utility. Congress adjourned without confirming President Obama's nominees to the TVA board, and those Democratic appointees probably won't get another chance.
Obama had re-nominated three people for second terms: the chairman, attorney Joe Ritch of Huntsville; a former candidate for Tennessee governor, Mike McWherter; and Peter Mahurin of Bowling Green.
Despite being the largest public utility in the country, TVA's board has rarely been a priority for any administration. Still, the makeup of the board is entirely up to the White House.
"It certainly is a political process," says TVA spokesman Scott Brooks. "But regardless of the bent of the administration at the time, the board has always been challenged to make the best decision for the rate-payers."
TVA's CEO has said he doesn't intend to change course under the Trump administration, including decreasing the utility's reliance on coal-fired power plants.
Even with three vacancies, TVA's six remaining board members will still be able to make decisions until the new administration's picks are confirmed.