Labor Unions Back Trump’s Plan To Save Coal Plants

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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Some labor unions that typically support Democratic politicians are backing a proposal by Secretary of Energy Rick Perry that would subsidize coal and nuclear power plants, according to The Washington Post.

Perry has proposed a plan that would reward power plants that keep at least three months of fuel on site and don’t shut down during severe weather. Practically, this would favor coal and gas plants over other sectors, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) has joined several other unions to lobby the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, according to The Washington Post.

“The UWUA supports those who support the priorities of our members and their communities regardless of their political affiliation,” the union’s national president Mike Langford told WaPo.

Perry is pushing the plan as a way to increase grid reliability as renewables more susceptible to fluctuations make up an increasing share of the U.S. energy mix.

The labor unions are backing the proposal in order to keep the jobs associated with the plants that would benefit.

“The importance of these plants remaining operational cannot be overstated,” Tim Burga, president of the Ohio branch of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, said according to WaPo. “We have seen the devastation that occurs in our communities when major employers leave a region.”

Environmentalists and the oil and gas industry, two other groups that are often at odds, have come together to oppose Perry’s plan, according to WSJ.

“The proposal is anticompetitive and if implemented, it would distort, if not destroy, competitive wholesale electricity markets, increase the price of electricity to all consumers, and directly impact negatively the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing,” Industrial Energy Consumers of America President Paul Cicio told Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, according to The Wall Street Journal

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