Political Notes — Southern Co. begs for federal help for Vogtle

[private]Bloomberg News reports that Southern Co. executives, with the help of Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols, are pleading with the federal government to help bail out the floundering nuclear project at Plant Vogtle.

They don’t appear to be having any success at this point in time, as the feds have already declined to cut a deal that might have saved the V.C. Summer plant in South Carolina, a nuclear project very similar to Vogtle that was shut down July 31.

Says Bloomberg:

They have asked the administration to come to the aid of a project to build two reactors to the Southern Co.’s Vogtle power plant, according to people familiar with the talks. That could include increasing or speeding up disbursements of $8.3 billion in loan guarantees to the companies behind the nuclear plant, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing ongoing negotiations.

A Georgia public service regulator was in Washington to make a case for the project, the last nuclear plant under construction in the U.S., and Southern has hosted congressional staff members at the construction site.

“We have asked anybody that would help us achieve the best commercial outcome possible,” Southern chief executive officer Tom Fanning said in an interview Aug. 2. . . .

After Energy Secretary Rick Perry turned down a request for $3 billion in aid for Scana Corp.’s nuclear plant in South Carolina, it’s not clear how much the federal government will help. Scana abandoned its V.C. Summer nuclear projects last month after it concluded the two reactors would end up costing it more than $20 billion to build. . . .

The request for help could be in addition to or part of the $8.3 billion loan guarantee provided by the Energy Department under the Obama administration. As of June 30, Southern has borrowed $2.6 billion through the loan guarantee pact, but disbursements from that financing agreement were put on hold, until it decides if construction will continue, according to a company filing.

Here’s a troubling thought for the Southern Co. execs to consider: that $8.3 billion loan guarantee was authorized by the energy department under President Barack Obama — and Donald Trump appears determined to reverse every action of the Obama administration that he possibly can.

Jeffares names campaign team

State Sen. Rick Jeffares (R-McDonough) has announced the team members who will run his campaign for lieutenant governor.

State Sen. Burt Jones (R-Jackson) and Dr. J. David Allen, a dentist, are the campaign co-chairs. S. Aaron McWhorter, the owner of North Georgia Turf, is the finance chairman while Laura Willis Dunaway of Capitol Strategy Group is the finance director.

Ryan Williams, who was a field representative for Gov. Nathan Deal’s 2014 re-election campaign, is the campaign manager. GOP veterans Scott Rials and Jay Walker of RightPath Strategic Affairs are the general consultants.

Dan McLagan, the communications director during the Sonny Perdue administration, has hired on to assume a similar role for this campaign.

New Common Cause director

Common Cause Georgia has named Sara Henderson, the organization’s policy director, as the new executive director.

“Sara brings to bear a wealth of experience from her work with the Georgia General Assembly both from the inside as a staffer and from the outside as an advocate,” said Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn. “She hit the ground running for Common Cause in January and we all look forward great things from her in the years ahead.”

Henderson is the third director of the state organization in less than two years. Common Cause Georgia pushed out William Perry in 2015, eventually replacing him with Brinkley Serkedakis.

Board of Court Reporting

The Judicial Council of Georgia has appointed three new members to the Board of Court Reporting:  Daniel Gershwin, an Atlanta freelance court reporter in Atlanta; John K. Larkins Jr. of Chilivis Cochran Larkins & Bever in Atlanta; and Randi Strumlauf, an Atlanta freelance court reporter.

The Council appointed to a second consecutive term Lowndes County State Court Judge John K. Edwards Jr. and Cheryl Gilliam, the official court reporter for the Atlanta Judicial Circuit.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Board of Court Reporting , Common Cause Georgia , Plant Vogtle , Rick Jeffares , Sara Henderson , Southern Co. , Tim Echols