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Houston Chronicle: For coal magnate tied to Trump and Perry, accusations of government 'bailout'

Posted by James Osborne on Nov 12, 2017

The Houston Chronicle reviewed facts surrounding the Dept. of Energy's proposed grid resiliency rule that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was expected to rule on by Dec. 11 to meet Sec. Perry's fast-track schedule. The story subhead noted, "Critics call Perry's proposal raising coal, nuclear plants' rates a bailout."

The piece explained challenges that Ohio coal magnate Robert Murray faced with near-historic lows in coal prices and long term competitive pressures, which led to "Murray, a prominent supporter of President Donald Trump... urging him (Trump) to declare an emergency across the electric grid that would prevent any more coal plants from closing, according to a letter Murray sent to the White House in August."

According to the Chron: "Less than two months later, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, whose failed 2012 presidential campaign received a six-figure contribution from Murray and his employees, released a controversial plan to raise electricity prices paid to coal and nuclear plants. The proposal falls short of the emergency declaration sought by Murray, analysts said, but it nonetheless appears designed to particularly benefit Murray and his company." 

The story included several critics of the proposed rule including AEE:

"Malcolm Woolf, senior vice president with Advanced Energy Economy, a trade group representing wind and solar firms, battery manufacturers and major power buyers like Wal-Mart and Google, said that if Trump administration officials wanted to help the coal industry, they could have gone to Congress the way the Obama administration did to bail out the auto industry during the worst of the national recession in 2009. But Woolf said, the Trump administration doesn't have evidence coal and nuclear plant closures would lead to blackouts...

"They've resorted to this because this isn't about reliability and resiliency," he said, "but about bailing out a few failing companies in the marketplace."

See the entire Houston Chronicle story here.  

Topics: AEE In The News