Wednesday, June 06, 2018

'Economy crippling' and 'third grade' work: Conservatives pan Trump's move to save failing coal and nuclear plants

President Donald Trump's order to keep failing coal and nuclear power plants open — and a proposal to use obscure executive powers to achieve that goal — has been slammed by environmentalists, energy industry groups and competitive power markets. It turns out conservative and libertarian free market think tanks are not fans of the plan either. They are panning it as "economy-crippling central planning" and the intellectual work of someone in the "third grade." On Friday, Trump instructed Energy Sec. Rick Perry to "prepare immediate steps to stop" the "impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities," referring to coal and nuclear plants. The same day, Bloomberg News released a leaked draft proposal from the Energy Department. It proposed Trump cite national security concerns, allowing him to require regional markets to purchase enough power from the facilities to prevent them from closing. Katie Tubb, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, said the administration can't find justification in past experience to subsidize the plants, so it is evoking potential future threats like cyber attacks and terrorism. In her view, the plan stretches the limits of the Federal Power Act and the Defense Production Act to achieve a political goal. Tubb equated the proposal to President Barack Obama's use of the Clean Air Act to justify his move to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants under the Clean Power Plan, which conservatives often frame as an abuse of authority. "Neither are sound, principled policy and both promise harm to consumers. Instead, the President should turn dedicated attention to reversing the underlying policies that are causing the problems he wants to fix," Tubb said...MORE

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