Trump resorts to Soviet-style tactics to keep dirty coal plants running

On June 1, 2018, President Trump directed Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry to provide a new unjustified and illegal handout to coal executives.

Based on a leaked memo it appears Perry will deploy a pair of archaic, World War II- and Cold War-era laws to shelter certain plants from competition in the free market, likely mandating regional utilities to ensure that selected uneconomical coal and nuclear plants continue to operate.

“Trump’s surreal ‘up is down’ proclamation that coal-fired power is critical to national security is madness contradicted by national grid experts, including his own Department of Energy and the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and all objective measures of grid reliability and security,” said Earthjustice Staff Attorney Kim Smaczniak.

“Cleaner, cheaper power is abundant, and new energy technologies like wind, solar, and other distributed energy make the grid safer from attack. The U.S. military is increasingly turning to solar, not coal, to ensure resilience at military bases,” said Smaczniak. “No law gives the administration the power to set energy prices. If the administration thinks it can just fix the prices for its preferred plants, it is wrong.”

“Today’s action will do nothing to make the American people safer,” said Smaczniak. “Instead, it will have a tremendous cost to the public: billions of dollars tacked on to American energy bills to bail out wealthy coal executives, and communities crushed by asthma, other diseases leading to premature death by keeping the nation’s dirtiest coal plants running long after they are needed.”

“Earthjustice will continue to fight the Trump Administration’s destructive and illegal coal bailouts every with every legal tool available,” said Smaczniak.

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