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Trump Administration Is Weighing Emergency Aid for Some Coal Plants

Trump Administration Is Weighing Emergency Aid for Some Coal Plants

February 8, 2018, 8:34 PM EST

After failing to win a bailout for cash-strapped coal plants, the Trump administration is considering emergency orders that could keep at least some coal generators online, people familiar with the discussions said.

Rick Perry may use his authority as U.S. energy secretary to spur emergency compensation for coal plants run by FirstEnergy Solutions that may be at risk of shutting, said the people, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The Energy Department is considering this option after federal regulators rejected a proposal by Perry last month to pay coal plants more for their “resilience,” they said.

When asked to confirm the talks, agency spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said “that is not correct information” but declined to provide further detail.

The FirstEnergy Solutions plants in question were at the heart of the Trump administration’s plan to compensate nuclear and coal generators more for their power. The proposal was rejected last month by members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that Trump appointed who said it would violate U.S. law. Coal mogul Bob Murray, an outspoken advocate for the bailout plan and a Trump supporter, had previously called on Perry to use his emergency authority to save the FirstEnergy Solutions plants but was shot down. He’s warned that his company, which supplies some of the units, may face default if they shut.

The Squeeze on Coal

Coal is no longer the biggest source of electricity in America, edged out by natural gas

Source: Energy Information Administration data as of 2016

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