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Trump, coal leaders in dispute

25 August 2017

During a rambling campaign speech in Phoenix Tuesday, Trump brought up his support for coal-fired power plants and discussed a method of cleaning coal that seemed not quite right to many listeners. That plant was partially funded by a Department of Energy program for which Trump has proposed deep cuts. There is one such highly efficient coal plant now in operation in Arkansas, but given their high upfront costs, it is unlikely that more will be built soon in the United States. It also highlights a pattern emerging as the administration crafts policy: The president's bold declarations — both public and private — are not always carried through to implementation.

In those letters, the executives claimed thousands of coal miners would be laid off and pensions would be put at risk if immediate action to fund and keep the coal-burning plants humming was not taken.

Trump ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to meet Murray's request, but the DOE said no.

It's not "brand-new", as Trump said, but has been idle since 2012.

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The CEO of "the largest coal mining company in America" believes President Trump has broken his promises to miners, The Associated Press reports.

The U.S. Department of Energy will release a study of electric grid reliability on Wednesday night, a department official said, an endeavor the renewable industry worries may fault surging solar and wind power for weaknesses on the grid.

"With respect to this particular case at this particular time, the White House and the Department of Energy are in agreement that the evidence does not warrant the use of this emergency authority", Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said.

The administration still has some flexibility, and perhaps Murray shouldn't jump to conclusions.

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It also exempts power plants from having to comply with all laws related to the environment and emissions. The authority has been used sparingly in the past, such as during the California energy crisis in 2000 and following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Murray's company is seeking a two-year moratorium on closures of coal-fired power plants, which would be an unprecedented federal intervention in the nation's energy markets.

The emergency action stems from a small section of the Federal Power Act, which allows the USA government to step in and aid the nation's power supply during times of crisis.

The coal-fired plants are supplied by Murray's mines and, in a letter to the Energy Department on August 4, he said his company would be forced into bankruptcy if they were shut down. FirstEnergy acknowledged to the AP that bankruptcy of its power-generation business was a possibility.

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The non-action is a follow-up to an OH bill that would provide permanent subsidies for two specific coal-fired power plants.

Trump, coal leaders in dispute