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Leaked Memo Shows A Plan To Bailout Coal And Nuclear

Screenshot of the leaked DOE memo obtained by Bloomberg last week
Gavin Bade

The Trump administration is planning to keep coal and nuclear-fueled power plants alive, according to a 41-page memo acquired by Bloomberg News. The plan would enable the federal government to buy electricity from coal and nuclear plants that were planning to retire. If the bailout becomes a reality, it will be the first of its kind.

The memo put together by the Department of Energy lays out a plan to keep dying coal and nuclear plants online in the name of national security. The administration said in a statement that the nation’s power grid was at risk with the decline of the two resources.

Travis Deti, head of the Wyoming Mining Association, said he doesn’t see this as a bailout, but as government intervention. And he doesn’t like that. He said it’s the kind of tactic that’s propped up renewable and natural gas.

"I would prefer to see the government back off and prefer to see them back off where they’ve been so influential,” Deti said.

He said, if the outline stays in its current form, it would benefit Wyoming coal. The memo has not been signed off by the president yet, and is still in the draft phase. Shannon Anderson, staff attorney for the Powder River Basin Resource Council, said subsidizing coal would likely increase electricity rates, adding the move is unnecessary and a government overstep. She added the nation’s power grid is flexible enough now without fossil fuels to rely on renewable energy.

Before Wyoming, Cooper McKim has reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. He's reported breaking news segments and features for several national NPR news programs. Cooper is the host of the limited podcast series Carbon Valley. Cooper studied Environmental Policy and Music. He's an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.
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