Memorandum of Disapproval of Tennessee Valley Authority Legislation.
I HAVE withheld my approval from H.R. 11929, "To amend section 15d of Tennessee Valley Authority Act of 1933 to provide that expenditures for pollution control facilities will be credited against required power investment return payments and repayments."
This bill would permit TVA to defer or offset its repayment obligations to the United States Treasury about $85 million per year for 5 years because of expenditures required to install pollution control equipment--and thereby enable TVA to postpone some rate increases otherwise required.
The people' who are provided with electric power by the Tennessee Valley Authority have been subjected to substantial increases in power rates in recent months. I must point out, however, that consumers of electricity throughout the Nation have experienced similar rate increases for essentially the same reasons-the rising prices of fuel and materials, the cost of installing air pollution control equipment, and the rising cost of labor.
Nevertheless, TVA customers still pay among the lowest power rates of any region in the Nation--about 30 percent of rates in New York, 64 percent of Chicago, and 78 percent of Louisville, Kentucky.
No one likes to pay higher electric bills. But we must not allow this simple fact to result in new legislation which violates the fundamental principle that electricity should be priced to reflect its cost of production, including the cost of pollution abatement and control. My environmental advisers as well as my economic advisers agree with me that this principle must be upheld.
I see no basis in equity or in logic for departing from this principle in the case of the TVA, and for asking the general taxpayer to make up the difference in TVA power rates. To do so would be unfair to power consumers elsewhere in the Nation who do not have the benefit of Tennessee Valley Authority power facilities and who are required to bear the costs attributed to pollution control in their power bills.
GERALD R. FORD
The White House,
December 21, 1974.
Note: The text of the memorandum was released December 23, 1974, at Vail, Colo.
Gerald R. Ford, Memorandum of Disapproval of Tennessee Valley Authority Legislation. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/256295