Energy Dept. rejects push to protect coal-fired power plants

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has rejected a coal industry push to win a rarely used emergency order protecting coal-fired power plants, a decision contrary to what one coal executive said the president personally promised him.

The Energy Department says it considered issuing the order sought by companies seeking relief for plants it says are overburdened by environmental rules and market stresses. But the department ultimately ruled it was unnecessary, and the White House agreed, a spokeswoman said.

The decision is a rare example of friction between the beleaguered coal industry and the president who has vowed to save it. It also highlights a pattern emerging as the administration crafts policy: The president’s bold declarations — both public and private — are not always carried through to implementation.

President Donald Trump committed to the measure in private conversations with executives from Murray Energy Corp. and FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. after public events in July and early August, according to letters to the White House from Murray Energy and its chief executive, Robert Murray. In the letters, obtained by The Associated Press, Murray said failing to act would cause thousands of coal miners to be laid off and put the pensions of thousands more in jeopardy. One of Murray’s letters said Trump agreed and told Energy Secretary Rick Perry, “I want this done,” in Murray’s presence.

The White House declined to say whether Trump did initially agree to Murray’s request for help. But in a statement on Tuesday, administration spokeswoman Kelly Love wrote that the proposal was not the right way to support the coal industry.

“Whether through repealing the Clean Power Plan and the ‘Waters of the U.S. Rule,’ removing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, or signing legislation to overturn rules and policies designed to stop coal mining, President Trump continues to fight for miners every day,” she wrote in an email to the AP.

Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said the agency was sympathetic to the coal industry’s plight, but likewise did not support the proposal.

“With respect to this particular case at this particular time, the White House and the Department of Energy are in agreement that the evidence does not warrant the use of this emergency authority,” Hynes said in a statement Sunday.

A spokesman for Murray Energy, Gary Broadbent, declined to comment on the letters or the administration’s response.

The aid Murray sought from Trump involves invoking a little-known section of the U.S. Federal Power Act that allows the Energy Department to temporarily intervene when the nation’s electricity supply is threatened by an emergency, such as war or natural disaster. Among other measures, it temporarily exempts power plants from obeying environmental laws. In the past, the authority has been used sparingly, such as during the California energy crisis in 2000 and following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Obama administration never used it. The Trump administration has used it twice in seven months in narrow instances.

Murray’s company is seeking a two-year moratorium on closures of coal-fired power plants, which would be an unprecedented federal intervention in the nation’s energy markets. The company said invoking the provision under the Power Act was “the only viable mechanism” to protect the reliability of the nation’s power supply.

Murray told the White House that his key customer, Ohio-based electricity company FirstEnergy Solutions, was at immediate risk of bankruptcy. Without FirstEnergy’s plants burning his coal, Murray said his own company would be forced into “immediate bankruptcy,” triggering the layoffs of more than 6,500 miners. FirstEnergy acknowledged to the AP that bankruptcy of its power-generation business was a possibility.

Murray urged Trump to use the provision in the Federal Power Act to halt further coal plant closures by declaring an emergency in the electric power grid.

After a conversation with Trump at a July 25 political rally in Youngstown, Ohio, Murray wrote, the president told Perry three times, “I want this done.” Trump also directed the emergency order be given during an Aug. 3 conversation in Huntington, West Virginia, he said.

“As stated, disastrous consequences for President Trump, our electric power grid reliability, and tens of thousands of coal miners will result if this is not immediately done,” he wrote.

Murray’s claims raise the possibility that Trump was warned against the move by his advisers — some of whom are known to be more cautious — or that he simply made assurances to Murray to avoid immediate confrontation. The people who worked on the decision most directly were Perry, Michael Catanzaro, who works under National Economic Council director Gary Cohn as the top White House energy adviser, and Perry’s chief of staff, Brian McCormack, U.S. officials told the AP. They spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal policy considerations by name.

Murray and his company have been impassioned supporters of Trump, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaign and inauguration, hosting fundraisers and embracing him as the rescuer of the Appalachian coal industry. The friendliness has been mutual: When Trump repealed an Obama administration regulation barring coal companies from dumping mine waste in streams, Murray and his sons were invited for the signing.

The Energy Department has already informed Murray it will not invoke the law, an official with knowledge of the decision told the AP.

Coal has become an increasingly unattractive fuel for U.S. electricity companies, which have been retiring old boilers at a record pace. At least two dozen big coal-fired plants are scheduled to shut down in coming months as utilities transition to new steam turbines fueled by cleaner-burning natural gas made more abundant in recent years by new drilling technologies.

Trump, who rejects the consensus of scientists that burning fossil fuels is causing global warming, has made reversing the coal industry’s decline a cornerstone of his administration’s energy and environmental policies. Since taking office, he announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris climate accord, and he has moved to block or delay Obama-era regulations seeking to limit carbon emissions.

Other coal executives have urged similar government intervention to save their businesses. In a speech last week, the CEO of Peabody Energy Corp., the nation’s largest coal producer, also said a two-year moratorium on coal-plant closures was needed.

Perry has already twice invoked the Federal Power Act in narrow ways at the request of utilities seeking to keep old coal-burning plants online past their planned retirement dates. In both cases, the utilities were allowed to continue operations at plants amid concerns that shutting them down could lead to regional shortages in electricity.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Volunteers gather for annual Clark County homeless count
Volunteers gather for the annual Southern Nevada Homeless Census, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who can understand hospital price lists?
Lists of costs for procedures, drugs and devices are now posted the websites of hospitals to comply with a new federal rule designed to provide additional consumer transparency. Good luck figuring out what they mean.
People in Mesquite deal with a massive power outage
People in Mesquite respond to a major power outage in the area on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Group helping stranded motorists during power outage
A group of Good Samaritans are offering free gas to people in need at the Glendale AM/PM, during a massive power outage near Mesquite on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen falls at Las Vegas parade
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada fell and injured her wrist at the Martin Luther King Day parade in Las Vegas on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tate Elementary shows academic progress after categorical funding
Students at Tate Elementary in Las Vegas has benefited from a program to boost education funding in targeted student populations, known as categorical funding. One program called Zoom helps students who have fallen below grade level in reading. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Three Square helps TSA workers
Three Square Food Bank donated over 400 care bags to TSA workers affected by the government shutdown Wednesday, filled with food, personal hygiene products and water.
Las Vegas furniture store donates to Clark County firehouses
Walker Furniture donated new mattresses to all 30 Clark County firehouses in the Las Vegas Valley, starting today with Station 22. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dyer Lawrence explains college football playoff system proposal
Las Vegan Dyer Lawrence has a new idea for a college football playoff system that includes a unique scheduling component called National Call Out Day. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death row inmate Scott Dozier found dead in his cell
Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier is dead. Dozier’s death ends his legal odyssey, which began in 2007 when he was convicted in the 2002 murder of Jeremiah Miller, but does little to clarify what’s next for Nevada’s death penalty.
I-15 southbound near Primm closed after ‘major crash’
A rollover crash Saturday morning involving at least nine vehicles on southbound Interstate 15 near Primm caused an hourslong traffic delay. Traffic was backed up to Sloan, live traffic cameras show. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death Valley visitors deal with shutdown
Visitors staying at the Furnace Creek Campground were forced to move from the campground following health and safety concerns due to lack of resources during the partial government shutdown at Death Valley National Park in Calif., on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Richard Brian Las Vegas Review-Journal @vegasphotograph
Half of homicides in Henderson for 2018 domestic violence related
Lt. Kirk Moore of the public information office of the city of Henderson police department speaks to the Review-Journal in Henderson, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Henderson saw a slight increase in homicides in the past year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak stops by Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak kicks off his tour to Carson City, which will take him from Las Vegas, through Tonopah, and up to the capital city. First stop is the Downtown Boys & Girls Club.
Certificates for renewing wedding vows in Clark County
The Marriage License Bureau in Clark County began issuing a Certificate of Vow Renewal to married couples who are renewing their wedding vows on Jan. 3, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas flu season better than last year (so far)
Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief medical officer and director of clinical services at the Southern Nevada Health District, said there were 24 flu-related deaths at this point in the flu season. No deaths have been reported so far this year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Las Vegas Valley’s First Baby of 2019
The first 2019 baby in the Las Vegas Valley was Melialani Chihiro Manning, born at 12:10 a.m. at Henderson Hospital. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Sources: Henderson Constable may face more charges
Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell may face additional charges ... stemming from his spending of county funds, sources said. Mitchell was indicted earlier this month on five felony theft and fraud charges ... after a Las Vegas Review-Journal story questioned his spending. But grand jury records show even more extensive spending including ... an $800 dinner at steakhouse ... nearly 200 atm withdrawals mostly at gambling establishments ... and even Disneyland tickets. But his attorney plans to ask a judge to dismiss the charges.
Las Vegas NYE Restrictions and Enhanced Security
If you are planning to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street, be aware that you are not allowed to bring backpacks, coolers, strollers or glass. There will also be an increase in security to ensure safe celebrations across town.
Catholic Charities serves up 53rd annual Christmas dinner
Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and more than 100 volunteers served 1,000 Christmas meals to Southern Nevada's homeless and less fortunate. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @kmcannonphoto)
Politics
Saunders on the shutdown, SOTU and Democrat presidential candidates - VIDEO
The White House is committed to the shutdown fight, but missing out on delivering the State of the Union would pain President Donald Trump. One of Trump’s 2020 challengers, Sen. Kamala Harris, is a flawed presidential candidate. That’s all according to Debra Saunders, the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s White House correspondent.
Las Vegas Mayor Goodman Announces Cancer Diagnosis (Full briefing)
Las Vegas Mayor Goodman filed for reelection today, following a major health announcement. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen falls at Las Vegas parade
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada fell and injured her wrist at the Martin Luther King Day parade in Las Vegas on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Governor Steve Sisolak Talks Minimum Wage, Teacher Pay and the Cannabis Industry - VIDEO
Newly elected Governor Steve Sisolak talks with Review-Journal reporters about increasing the minimum wage, Nevada's budget for 2019 and increasing teacher's pay.
Nevada Politics Today: Kieckhefer signals that Republicans don’t support Sisolak’s tax hike
Gov. Steve Sisolak shouldn’t count on Senate Republican support for his desired tax hike. Collective bargaining for state workers would drive up costs, and Nevada should expand Opportunity Scholarships. That’s according to Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno.
Harry Reid Brags About Abusing His Power - The Right Take - VIDEO
Harry Reid once risked his life to take on mob bosses. He’s now bragging about having successfully imitated their tactics during his political career.
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada State Supreme Court has first female majority
With the recent election of Justice Elissa Cadish and Justice Abbi Silver, the Nevada State Supreme Court now has a female majority. First oral arguments for the new court were heard Tuesday. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Newly elected trustees join Clark County School Board
District D Trustee Irene Cepeda, District F Trustee Danielle Ford and District G Trustee Linda Cavazos were sworn in at the Edward Greer Education Center on Monday, Jan. 8, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak Speaks at Inauguration - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks at the 2019 inauguration where he and other politicians were sworn into office on Monday, Jan. 7. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Steve Sisolak Signs Executive Order To Combat Sexual Harassment - VIDEO
Newly inaugurated Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak gets right to work signing a executive order to combat sexual harassment. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Inauguration 2019 - State Capitol Building, Carson City
Nevada Inauguration 2019 - State Capitol Building, Carson City
Democrats Support Border Walls For Themselves (The Right Take) - VIDEO
President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats remain at an impasse over wall funding as the government shutdown reaches the end of its second week. Trump insists on a physical barrier to secure the Southern border. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said a wall would be “ineffective.”
There's a new 'trump bump' at the White House
Journalists often crowd the White House briefing room expecting the latest news, but now the news is that many of the reporters are expecting. Steve Holland: “There’s such a baby boom going on in the White House Press Corps that we are always on standby for delivering a baby if necessary.” CBS’s Weijia Jiang. New York Post’s Marisa Schultz. The Washington Post’s Ashley Parker. Newsday’s Laura Figueroa. They’re just a few of the White House correspondents who are with child or who recently gave birth. Five more members of the White House Press Corps. delivered babies during Trump’s first two years: NPR’s Tamara Keith, CNN’s Pamela Brown, Fox News’ Kristin Fisher, CGTN’s Jessica Stone and NPR’s Ayesha Rascoe. Others are shy of publicity or not yet showing. But what’s behind this different kind of trump bump? For one, the moms-to-be are professional women whose careers are in a secure moment as they feel their biological clocks ticking. Another factor: political timing and family planning. There’s a short window between the 2016 and 2020 election cycles. Then there’s the matter that being a political journalist is stressful, and, well, certain activities can help alleviate that stress. Being pregnant in the White House briefing room definitely doesn’t make the job any easier, though. There are just 49 seats – and it’s not as if competitors are quick to offer up their coveted chairs. At one point, Ronica Cleary tweeted she was “less than enthusiastic about the nature of a room full of people who avoid offering a seat to a woman who is 371/2 weeks pregnant.” Even the press offices behind the press room are cramped. With the baby boom, the Christian Broadcasting Network’s small office now doubles as a breast bumping room. One journalist made headlines when she announced her pregnancy with an apparent jab at the president. Weijia Jiang’s baby bump was showing at a September press conference. When President Trump told her to “sit down,” she tweeted she couldn’t wait to teach her child that “when a man orders you to sit down because he doesn’t like what you’re saying, do anything but.”
Red Rock Canyon closed but accessible during partial government shutdown
The famed scenic loop of Red Rock National Conservation Area, which attracts tourists and climbers alike, was closed but accessible on Dec. 22, 2018, during a partial government shutdown forced by President Donald Trump. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Attorney General’s office prepares for transition
Attorney General-elect Aaron Ford and outgoing Attorney General Adam Laxalt hold a small press briefing to discuss the transition of the office.
Robert Uithoven On What Happened To Nevada Republicans
Record Democrat turnout doomed Nevada Republican candidates in last month’s election. That turnout was driven, in part, by the left’s dislike for President Donald Trump. Trump’s campaign needs to make an early investment in Nevada to be competitive in 2020. That’s all according to Robert Uithoven, a Republican political consultant.
Nevada Republicans Look For Answers After Election Loss - The Right Take
Nevada Republicans suffered a heavy loss during the 2018 midterm elections to Democrats. Political opinion columnist Victor Joecks goes over what Republicans need to do to win their next election.
Denis details his plans, goals for Nevada education - Nevada Politics Today
The top priority for Nevada education is overhauling the Nevada Plan. There isn’t going to be a tax hike to fully implement weighted funding, and Read by 3 needs to be modified. That’s all according to Sen. Mo Denis, who will chair the Senate Education Committee. Denis also said he doesn’t now support extending $20 million in tax credits for the Opportunity Scholarship program.
Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94
Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. He died Friday night in Houston, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara.
Nevada Politics Today: John Malcolm talks about FIRST STEP Act, judicial vacancies
The FIRST STEP Act is currently before the Senate to help decrease recidivism rates. States that have passed similar measures have seen a decrease in crime. Conservatives also shouldn’t push Clarence Thomas to retire before President Donald Trump’s first term is over. That’s all according to John Malcom, a senior legal fellow with the Heritage Foundation. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Thoughts on Wealth, Inequality, and Thanksgiving
Listen to some politicians and you’d think that America’s wealth should be a source of anger, not thanksgiving.
Nevada Politics Today: Robert Fellner
Nevada’s Supreme Court has ruled that public employee retiree payouts are public records and we’re talking someone from the winning side.
Rosen discusses plans and goals as U.S. Senator
U.S. Senator-elect Jacky Rosen meets with Las Vegas reporters to discuss her win and priorities as Nevada’s next senator.
The Right Take: Republicans Need To Advantage Of Third Party Candidates
Nevada had a blue wave on Tuesday, but some of Nevada’s most conservative voters amplified its reach.
Amy Tarkanian gives passionate speech after husband's election loss
Amy Tarkanian speaks to a small crowd after her husband, Danny Tarkanian, concedes the race for the 3rd Congressional District.
U.S. Senator-Elect Jacky Rosen gives her victory speech
After defeating Dean Heller for the Nevada Senate seat, Jacky Rosen gives her victory speech at Cesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Senator Dean Heller concedes in 2018 election
Senator Dean Heller concedes in 2018 election.
Nevada Election 2018 | Election Update
Nevada 2018 Election Update. Live from Las Vegas Review-Journal Studio with the latest results from election night.
Susie Lee defeats Danny Tarkanian in Nevada's 3rd Congressional District
Susie Lee delivers her acceptance speech after defeating Danny Tarkanian for Nevada's 3rd Congressional District. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Nevada Election 2018 | Election Update
Nevada Election 2018: A late night for those wanting election results.
Nevada Election 2018 | Election Update
Nevada Election 2018: A late night for those wanting election results. The latest from the Las Vegas Review Journal. Studio anchor Aaron Drawhorn joined by columnist Victor Joecks discussing voter turnout and impact.
Scenes from the Nevada GOP Election Party
Crowds gather at Nevada's GOP Election Party at South Point in Clark County. Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Long lines in 2018 Nevada election in Las Vegas
Polling places in Clark County, Nev., saw long lines during the 2018 election.
Dennis Hof Wins, What Now?
Although Nevada Republicans have seen stronger elections, brothel owner Dennis Hof, who passed away unexpectedly October 16, managed to win his race for Assembly District 36 despite being dead. Hof ran as a Republican, calling himself the “Trump of Pahrump.” Although the colorful candidate and showman easily defeated his Democratic opponent from the grave, county commissioners from the three counties comprising District 36 must now meet to name Hof’s replacement.
Henderson voters talk about their voting experience
Henderson voters talk about their voting experience. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Voters hit the polls at Downtown Summerlin in Las Vegas
Voters, including first time voters, were lined up before the doors opened at the voting center in a tent in the parking lot behind Dillard’s at Downtown Summerlin. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Election Day time off
Nevada companies are required to give employees one to three hours of paid time off on Election Day, depending on the distance between the place of work and a polling location. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
U.S. Senator Kamala Harris Speaks at UNLV Rally
U.S. Senator Kamala Harris speaks at a UNLV rally hosted by the Nevada State Democratic Party.
Early voting ends Friday in Clark County
The final day of early voting is Friday, Nov. 2. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. Voting locations will stay open past their scheduled closing time so long as people are waiting in line to cast ballots. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President’s son visits Las Vegas in support of Republican candidates
Eric and Lara Trump show their support for U.S. Representative Cresent Hardy and other Republican candidates during a rally at the Nevada Republican Party’s Summerlin office.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like