World, Economy, Americas

Trump may force coal, nuclear plants to stay open

White House confirms plan that could force local electric grids to buy more power from coal and nuclear power plants

02.06.2018
Trump may force coal, nuclear plants to stay open

By Barry Eitel

SAN FRANCISCO

President Donald Trump has ordered the Department of Energy to investigate policies aimed at halting the shutdown of coal and nuclear power plants, the White House confirmed Friday.

According to a memo circulated among leaders in the energy industry and leaked to multiple United States media outlets, Trump is looking into using executive powers to keep faltering coal and nuclear power plants open for purported national security reasons.

“President Donald J. Trump believes in total energy independence and dominance, and that keeping America’s energy grid and infrastructure strong and secure protects our national security, public safety, and economy from intentional attacks and natural disasters,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Friday.

“Unfortunately, impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities are leading to a rapid depletion of a critical part of our Nation’s energy mix and impacting the resilience of our power grid.”

The move would be unprecedented because the plants in question are at risk of closing down due to increased competition from abundant natural gas and renewable energy sources. The policy would coerce the owners of power grids across the nation to purchase electricity from coal and nuclear plants.

The Trump administration confirmed Friday that it was looking into taking drastic actions to save the sputtering industry.

"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," Sanders added.

Shares of U.S.-based Peabody Energy, the largest private coal company in the world, rose nearly 5 percent Friday to close at $45.35.

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