Published: Mon, June 04, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Dumbest move yet- Saving coal plants in name of national security

Dumbest move yet- Saving coal plants in name of national security

"In particular, resources that have a secure on-site fuel supply, including nuclear and coal-fired power plants, as well as oil-fired and dual-fuel units with adequate storage, are essential to support the nation's defense facilities, critical energy infrastructure, and other critical infrastructure".

The draft memo laying out the directive doesn't give a specific amount operators would have to spend but says it will be enough to keep the facilities open for the next two years, saying that USA national security "relies on a robust US domestic industrial base, of which the coal, nuclear, and oil and natural gas industries are critical strategic components".

The Energy Department would exercise emergency authority under a pair of federal laws to direct the operators to purchase electricity or electric generation capacity from at-risk facilities, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg News.

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a major coal-mining state, on Friday praised Trump for carrying out what he said was his idea: "I am glad President Trump and his Administration are considering my idea to use the Defense Production Act to save coal-fired power plants with emissions controls and protect our national security", Manchin said.

"This prudent stop-gap measure" will allow coal and nuclear plants to remain open while the department takes further steps to secure the grid, the memo said. Numerous plants have operated far longer than anticipated when they were built.

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

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The government last invoked the Defense Production Act to address the California energy crisis in early 2001, ordering natural gas sellers to prioritize contracts to sell supplies to utility Pacific Gas and Electric Co. "President Trump has directed Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to prepare immediate steps to stop the loss of these resources, and looks forward to his recommendations". Perry argued that losing the plants could threaten the nation's power grid.

Environmental teams just like the Sierra Membership have been pushing campaigns to part out coal as a part of the US power grid and so they say that even a "bailout" is not going to maintain coal and nuclear vegetation open as the worldwide market focuses extra on pure fuel and renewable power sources.

Despite Murray's claims he "didn't have any involvement" in the rule DOE proposed to FERC, In These Times revealed a secret March 2017 meeting between Perry and Murray, in which the coal CEO presented his "action plan" for federal agencies to aid his struggling industry - and in which he hugged Perry. U.S. Defense Department installations are 99 percent dependent on the commercial power grid, one reason that electric system reliability is vitally important to national defense and homeland security, the memo asserts. The move would be one of the most direct efforts by Trump to make good on campaign promises to revive the nation's shrinking coal industry.

Administration officials are still weighing the best approach, and Sanders did not describe any specific plan on Friday.

The head of the Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA), a national trade association representing independent power producers and marketers, calls the memo an "unprecedented executive branch intervention" and fears that the "economic consequences [would be] profound for power suppliers and consumers". Its owner, Bob Murray, is a Trump backer who has personally lobbied Rick Perry to help the coal industry.

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