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Trump Will Order Americans To Burn More Coal, To Whip The Kaiser!

Help save food: No more onions on your belts!

Donald Trump promised he was going to bring coal back, and by God he’s going to bring coal back — even if nobody wants coal (and nobody does). Today he ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to take “immediate steps” to prevent any more coal-fired power plants from closing, because “national security” demands America keep pumping carbon into the atmosphere and money into coal companies:

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump believes “keeping America’s energy grid and infrastructure strong and secure protects our national security, public safety and economy from intentional attacks and natural disasters.”

Impending retirements of “fuel-secure” power plants that rely on coal and nuclear power are harming the nation’s power grid and reducing its resilience, Sanders said.

As Bloomberg reported yesterday, the Energy Department has prepared a plan that will prop up aging coal and nuclear plants that have become unprofitable, using Cold War-era government powers to force the nation’s energy grid to buy power generated by plants that would otherwise close down because they can’t compete in the allegedly free market:

“Too many of these fuel-secure plants have retired prematurely and many more have recently announced retirement,” only to be replaced by less-secure, less-resilient natural gas and renewable power sources, the memo said.

The memo says the old, dirty coal plants and the old, very expensive nuke plants absolutely must be preserved for national security purposes, since they’re the only kind of energy generation that can store extra reserves of fuel on-site. And since 99 percent of military bases are connected to the commercial grid, we absolutely must keep dirty energy plants running, since otherwise we might run out of electricity to keep America safe!

This claim is, of course, bullshit.

This is just another attempt to force power companies to prop up coal plants and coal companies that can’t compete against far cleaner natural gas and renewable energy sources. And in actuality, it’s just a weaponized version of a plan Rick Perry had already floated to subsidize the coal industry, that Trump appointees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected back in January. But hey, if you call it “national security,” you can fuck around in the market using Cold War rules designed to keep American industry rolling, for freedom:

The plan is to tap Section 202 of the Federal Power Act, which gives the secretary of Energy the authority to keep plants running in times of war or emergency, Bloomberg reports. The department will also cite the Defense Production Act, which gives the president wide-ranging power to “influence domestic industry in the interest of national defense,” according to the Congressional Research Service.

The scheme would be in place for two years “to forestall any future actions toward retirement, decommissioning or deactivation” until a study on the U.S. grid’s reliability concludes.

So, what’s the emergency? It’s a HUGE emergency! Top Republican donors really really want it, as the Bloomberg story explains:

The issue is a priority for some of the president’s top supporters, including coal moguls Robert E. Murray and Joseph Craft of Alliance Resource Partners, who donated a million dollars to the president’s inauguration. […]

“This action is essential in order to protect the resiliency and reliability of our nation’s electric power grids,” Murray said Friday in an email.

This is, of course, also bullshit:

Opponents of the new plan contend bailouts are a solution in search of a problem. They argue there are many ways to back up the grid that won’t cost ratepayers billions of dollars. A coalition of natural gas and renewable power advocates told Perry that “power plant retirements are a normal, healthy feature of electricity markets,” and therefore there is no emergency that would justify Energy Department action.

CNBC also points out:

The notion that the United States is in the midst of an electric power emergency is at odds with a grid reliability report produced by the Energy Department last year. The agency concluded, “reliability is adequate today despite the retirement of 11 percent of the generating capacity available in 2002, as significant additions from natural gas, wind, and solar have come online since then.”

Which is all fine and well, but neither of those analyses addresses just how vital to national security the support of Big Coal is to Donald Trump. Besides, how is Trump supposed to eliminate every last trace of Barack Obama’s presidency if we don’t sharply increase greenhouse gas emissions to own the libs? Surely that’s worth picking winners and losers in the “free” market, plus submerging a few coastal areas and making the planet incapable of sustaining life for large mammals!

It’ll be fun, believe me.

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[Bloomberg / Seattle Times / CNBC]

Source: Politics – Wonkette

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