Trump’s coal and nuclear bailout is lawless, reckless and dangerous — and nobody noticed

Donald Trump's latest gambit for bailing out coal and nuclear reactor is a two-year strategy directing grid operators (and therefore eventually customers) to pay designated plants enough "to forestall any more actions to retirement, decommissioning, or deactivation." The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will then allegedly utilize this time to determine a long-term fix for 2 problems presumably positioned by these retirements.The second of the alleged"problems"is that plant closures would threaten nationwide security. If patriotism is the last haven of a scoundrel, then" national security "is the last resort of a desperate political leader. As we noted last time around, there is no method to insert a coal and nuclear bailout into the confines of area 202 (c)of the Federal Power Act that attends to such remarkable orders(although the draft strategy gamely runs it up the flagpole as soon as again ). And so the administration has glommed on to the Defense Production Act(DPA), another statute that gives the president emergency situation powers allowing him to prevent the typical administrative process.Two reasons are floated for utilizing the DPA. That Defense Department centers, like everything else, depend on the grid for their electrical products, and dangers to grid resiliency are hence threats to nationwide security. This rings hollow. The Department of Defense presumably ensures that its facilities have backup generation available for vital operations in the occasion of a grid failure. And if it does not, it damn well should. Period.The 2nd validation is more interesting: The need for a"robust civilian nuclear power industry to support the entire U.S. nuclear enterprise and U.S. nuclear leadership abroad. "This describes nuclear weapons, naval propulsion(a third of the U.S. Navy fleet is nuclear-powered), nonproliferation efforts, etc. The draft relies greatly on< a href = target=_ blank > a 2017 report by the Energy Futures Initiative(run by previous DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz)makings a strong case that all of these programs rely to various degrees on the manufacturing and academic pipelines that support the U.S. civilian nuclear power industry. This is definitely a long-term concern that is worthy of major consideration, beginning with the question of whether, even though we currently fund nuclear plants to the tune of billions of dollars every year, we will have to completely prop some variety of them up even further in order to guarantee the security of America's nuclear weapons, our capability to keep a nuclear navy, and to continue international nuclear nonproliferation efforts.That stated, the idea of utilizing the president's amazing powers under the Defense Production Act to order a two-year bailout of nuclear reactor is both unreasonable and frightening.

Ridiculous, due to the fact that there is certainly no requirement for this: Few, if any, of the 99 reactor units in the United States will be retired in the interim. The draft claims (with no citation)that 12 of these systems have actually revealed retirement, according to a report last month from the Energy Info Administration, just six systems have announced plans to retire"by 2025." What's more, in 2015 four plants that had planned to retire reversed those decisions as an outcome of state aids for their zero-carbon generation. Assuming that none of the 6 units currently on the retirement track get their own state aids (and they are difficult on the path of them), which all them would somehow close down over the next two years, there is no credible method to argue that the staying 93 nuclear systems would not suffice to continue their function in supporting the U.S. nuclear enterprise.And so we concern frightening. The draft strategy justifies using section 101( c)of the Defense Production Act on the basis of its only previous use, during the 2000 California

energy crisis. Area 101(c)authorizes the president to"require the allowance of, or the top priority efficiency under contracts or orders ... associating with, materials, devices, and services in order to maximize domestic energy products, "and it is well worth recalling how and why it was used.Beginning on December 14, 2000, then-DOE Secretary Bill Richardson issued a series of Federal Power Act 202( c) short-term emergency orders to make sure electricity supplies for California. Then, faced with the refusal of natural

gas providers to offer gas to Pacific Gas & Electric because of worries that PG&E would declare bankruptcy, on Jan. 19, 2001, President Bill Clinton invoked both the Natural Gas Policy Act, in addition to DPA area 101( c), and authorized Richardson to guarantee materials of natural gas to central and northern California. Richardson then ordered the suppliers to continue sales to PG&E under terms consistent with their previous contracts.Richardson's Jan. 19 order ended, by its own terms, on Jan. 24. George W. Bush was inaugurated on January 20, and on Jan. 23, at the demand of California Gov. Gray Davis, the brand-new Energy Secretary, Spencer Abraham, extended the order by 2 weeks, during which time the California legislature bailed out PG&E and ended the requirement for federal intervention.California's biggest energy getting cut off from natural gas materials certifies as an emergency situation. Not only did PG&E require the gas products to run its own power plants-- the "G"in its acronym stands for" gas, "and millions of families would have lost access to cooking and heating fuel. Conjuring up section 101 (c)for 19 days in these scenarios is&exactly the sort of situation justifying the

usage of the president's amazing powers under the DPA. In contrast, the Trump administration's proposition of "let's use a pretext to invoke this emergency situation authority so we can bail out our political allies for a couple of years,"is yet another example of this presidency extending the guideline of law to a snapping point. Is anyone taking note of this?Activists storm nonrenewable fuel source panel Trump-backed panel of Big Energy execs feels less than welcome at environment conference in Germany.