Monday, June 04, 2018

Trump orders halt to coal- and nuclear-plant shutdowns

"President 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," Steven Mufson reports for The Washington Post.

The move was made possible by Cold War-era laws: the Federal Power Act and the Defense Production Act (President Truman used the latter to support the steel industry), James Rainey reports for NBC News. One likely plan would give preference to power plants that have a secure on-site fuel supply. That means coal and nuclear plants, since they are the only ones that regularly keep fuel on site. Many of the specified plants are owned or supplied by Trump's political allies, like coal magnate Robert Murray.

According to the memo, the rule would be a two-year stopgap measure meant to keep plants open while Perry's Energy Department studies the issue further, Mufson reports.

Critics attacked the proposal, saying it would make electricity more expensive for consumers and put more greenhouse gases in the air. "Some legal experts questioned whether the Energy Department could invoke the Federal Power Act, saying the law traditionally has been used to respond to hurricanes, blackouts and other disasters," Rainey reports." Several critics suggested that they would challenge the action in court, if necessary."

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