WASHINGTON – Media outlets reported earlier today that the Trump Administration is considering using the Defense Production Act – a relic of the Cold War – to force electricity customers and taxpayers to pay billions of dollars to bailout uneconomic coal and nuclear plants. Despite fierce objections by grid operators, consumer advocates, and business interests, the Trump Administration has continually pursued failed attempts over the past year to interfere in electricity markets in order to prop up dirty and dangerous fossil fuels that can’t compete with cheap clean energy resources like solar, wind and energy efficiency.
The Defense Production Act permits the president to control private industry to ensure the United States has the resources needed amid a war or after a national disaster – two situations that are not happening.
In response, Mary Anne Hitt, Senior Director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, released the following statement:
“It’s as if each week, the Trump Administration comes up with a new ploy to saddle electricity customers and taxpayers with uneconomic coal and nuclear plants that are heading for retirement – this time it’s using a Cold War era law meant for wartime. Despite the business community, customer advocates, and grid operators repeated insistence that the market is functioning well and that there is no emergency, Trump and the coal and nuclear industries are cartoonishly intent on forcing electricity customers and taxpayers to pay billions of dollars to prop up dinosaur power plants.
“Using the Defense Production Act to prop up uneconomic plants when there is ample capacity is a clear abuse of Presidential power. We, along with many, many others, stand ready to protect electricity customers, taxpayers, and America’s clean energy economy by fighting this latest ploy – along with scores of other similar ploys – Trump’s team is considering.”