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Trump Orders 'Immediate Steps' To Save Coal And Nuclear Power Plants

04 June 2018

After the Energy Department conducted a reliability study past year, Energy Secretary Rick Perry proposed a rule that would have compensated coal and nuclear plants for their ability to store months' worth of fuel on site.

President Donald Trump on Friday ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to halt the shutdown of ailing coal and nuclear power plants that he said were needed to maintain the nation's energy mix, grid resilience and national security.

"Uneconomic, dirty coal plants retiring does not represent a national security risk", Environmental Defense Fund director of federal energy policy and senior attorney Michael Panfil wrote on his blog.

Trump administration officials are making plans to order grid operators to buy electricity from struggling coal and nuclear plants in an effort to extend their life, a move that could represent an unprecedented intervention into USA energy markets.

The EIA also reports that almost all power plants that retired between 2008 and 2017 were fossil fuel plants and that most plants that plan to close before 2020 use coal or natural gas.

The DOE measure would also create a "Strategic Electric Generation Reserve", which would shore up the U.S.'s domestic energy reserves in case of an emergency. The move by Trump is also in line with some of his top supporters, including coal moguls Robert E. Murray and Joseph Craft of Alliance Resource Partners, who donated a million dollars to the president's inauguration.

"With coal and nuclear plants already closing at alarming rates, the reliability of America's electric grid is at risk", he said.

The National Mining Association says in a statement that it has not received details of the plan from the Department of Energy. This time, Perry is planning to resort to federal emergency measures typically employed during wartime or natural disasters, according to Bloomberg.

The drilling industry, renewable energy companies, and many grid operators reject the idea that coal and nuclear power plant closures are undermining USA electricity reliability and resiliency, saying gas, solar and wind have proven dependable.

Giuliani says Trump and his legal team will fight any subpoena
McCarthy, the House majority leader, offered a much more modest comment on a potential self-pardon Sunday. Giuliani added, "I think the political ramifications of that would be tough".

The Trump administration is moving to embrace two rarely used authorities under federal law to take the action, after weighing a broad array of strategies for preserving coal and nuclear power plants. The owner of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant has said its plant has been unprofitable for six years.

According to Bloomberg, the move would signal an unprecedented intervention in the USA energy industry.

Trump campaigned on the promise that he would revive the coal industry.

Soon after taking charge, new CIL chairperson Anil Kumar Jha said that the Power Ministry had set a daily supply level to ensure that every thermal power plant was carrying 22 days consumption of coal - the normative stock as laid down in standard operating procedures.

The country's largest grid operator, PJM Interconnection, says in a statement, "There is no need for any such drastic action".

"Earthjustice will continue to fight the Trump Administration's destructive and illegal coal bailouts every with every legal tool available".

The Defense Production Act, adopted in 1950 at the start of the Korean War, allows the federal government to intervene in business to promote national security.

As Trump's fossil-fuel energy mouthpiece, Perry earlier commissioned a study to identify regulatory causes for coal-plant closures, but no regulations were found; instead, cheap natural gas was observed to be responsible for widespread industry decline. "We urge policymakers to again block this ill-advised effort to keep plants running that most electric utilities have already made a decision to abandon - and for good reason". A coalition of natural gas and renewable power advocates told Perry that "power plant retirements are a normal, healthy feature of electricity markets", and therefore there is no emergency that would justify Energy Department action.

Trump Orders 'Immediate Steps' To Save Coal And Nuclear Power Plants