Reports swirling around Washington, D.C. suggest that the White House has shelved plans drawn up by Energy Secretary Rick Perry to effectively bail out the US coal and nuclear industries amidst opposition from President Trump’s advisers on the National Security Council and National Economic Council.
This is the situation within the White House according to Politico, which reported the internal decision-making “according to four people with knowledge of the discussions.” According to Politico reporters Eric Wolff and Darius Dixon, it is unsure at the moment whether the President himself is in agreement with his advisers — an assumption that is not worth the paper it’s printed on.
The original proposal can be traced back to late-September when US Energy Secretary Rick Perry filed a proposal with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) which would seek to financially subsidize coal and nuclear generation in the United States for their “on-site reserves” under the misleading assumption that the US energy grid requires such reserves on standby. This, despite the fact that a study commissioned by Perry in April to study grid resiliency and reliability undermined the very argument behind Perry’s plans to subsidize power plants for providing fuel security. However, the plan was unanimously rejected in early January by the FERC members — following significant criticism and widespread skepticism across the board, including from those who had served and currently serve on the Commission.
However, Secretary Perry was not done, and in June a draft plan was leaked that set out plans by the Trump Administration to follow through on subsidizing the country’s coal and nuclear sectors — a move which was roundly condemned as “unprecedented and misguided” and “an exercise in crony capitalism taken solely for the benefit of a bankrupt power plant owner and its coal supplier.”
However, according to Gillian Giannetti from the National Resources Defense Council, even though reports suggest that the White House has turned its back on the plan, “we must remain vigilant.” Specifically, Giannetti explains that, “while welcome news, these latest reports will not calm the fire. They will almost certainly embolden bailout proponents to place even more pressure on an administration that’s prone to change its mind.” Giannetti expanded on concerns in a blog post published Tuesday that outlines why efforts to oppose the bailout should not rest.
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