Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry issued a proposal in October that would have propped up coal and nuclear energy industries as they struggle to compete in changing markets. But in a major loss for President Donald Trump - as well as coal miners - the Federal Energy Regulation Committee rejected Perry's proposal.
The committee said in a statement that it might revisit the issue at a later date, handing a loss to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who had proposed a new mandate in September that would pay the operators of power plants to meet a new federal requirement to always have 90 days’ worth of coal on-site. The $10.6-billion cost of buying all that fuel would be passed on to consumers via surcharges on their monthly energy bills.
The implications of leaving the coal industry to support itself are dire, according to Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy, the largest coal-mining company in the U.S.
In August, the Associated Press obtained correspondence to Trump administration officials from Murray, who explicitly stated if the new policy was not implemented quickly, both Murray Energy and FirstEnergy would be forced to declare bankruptcy—a nightmare scenario for a deal-making president who campaigned a champion of coal.
We will now immediately observe the announcement of further decommissioning of nuclear and coal-fired electricity generation that will further exacerbate this critical situation,” he said in a statement first obtained by Newsweek. He slammed the committee “for sit(ting) on their hands and refus(ing) to take the action directed by Energy Secretary Rick Perry and President Donald Trump.”
FirstEnergy reiterated Murray's sentiments, saying,
“Without some kind of change or action, we risk seeing additional closure of plants,” a spokeswoman said.