Trump administration seeks to subsidize coal, keep old plants burning

(© Sanjay Suchak)

President Trump is seeking to subsidize over-budget nuclear reactors and outdated coal facilities while ordering his energy secretary to halt the closures of uneconomical coal plants, turning back the clock on years of energy advances and economic trends.

The two jarring announcements were reported Friday and mark a stunning level of free-market hypocrisy, even from an administration that consistently elevates the wants of fossil-fuel lobbyists above the needs of citizens.

This unprecedented market intervention takes aim at a thriving clean-energy industry, not to mention the harm it will do to communities that have long suffered from coal’s toxic air pollution,” said Frank Rambo, SELC’s Air and Energy Team leader. “It’s surreal, like a throwback to when some doctors recommended cigarettes.”

These intrusive coal and nuclear subsidies are being floated by an administration that falsely decried the landmark rule by the Obama EPA to control carbon dioxide pollution from fossil-fuel fired power plants as meddling in energy markets. 

Bloomberg also reported Friday that President Trump has ordered his energy secretary to put a stop to the trend of utilities retiring old, outdated, and unprofitable coal plants, under the guise that closing the aging and polluting plants “is putting the nation’s security at risk.”

Keeping these antiquated coal plants open has nothing to do with national security and everything to do with President Trump pandering to coal executives and lobbyists,” Rambo said. “This ill-advised order will not only be bad for our health and environment, but bad for our economy. We are seeing the shift to cleaner energy optionsbecause that’s what the economy is dictating. If President Trump props up the energy of the past, he will surely risk the future of energy.”

The six states served by SELC – Virginia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama – have been disproportionately harmed by the South’s reliance on coal. Coal burning has polluted the atmosphere with toxics like mercury that then settle into water, and coal ash storage has polluted rivers, groundwater, and drinking-water sources across the region.

In the past decade in the south, according to SELC research, more than 125 outdated coal plants have been retired or will be by 2020. Utilities, driven by market forces, vastly reduced reliance on coal in favor of cheaper power sources, like natural gas and renewable energy.

More News

Community and faith leaders shed light on Georgians’ energy burden

Nobody likes a sky-high electric bill. But in Georgia, where total monthly energy costs are the third highest nationwide, many families are consi...

Public Service Commission delivers major clean energy wins in Georgia

Georgia’s electric grid is getting a lot more solar following today’s final vote by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) on Georgia Power’...

Lower Cape Fear River no longer to be classified as ‘swamp waters’

Fifteen miles of North Carolina’s lower Cape Fear River will no longer be classified as “swamp waters,” thanks to a successful petition by enviro...

Support floods in to bolster ruling invalidating 2 N.C. constitutional amendments

On Friday, the North Carolina NAACP, represented by SELC and Forward Justice, urged the North Carolina Court of Appeals to uphold the Wake County...

Carolinas object to seismic blasting

State agencies in North and South Carolina have found that seismic blasting proposed for the Atlantic Ocean is not in line with the states’ coast...

Cross-sector collaboration: Groups tackle climate change through transportation reform

As the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions nationwide—and a close second in North Carolina—transportation has a vital role to play in redu...

More Stories