Energy

Trump Approved Two Coal Mining Operations Within Hours Of A Federal Board Voting To Shutter Coal Plants

REUTERS/Leah Millis

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter

The Department of the Interior (DOI) announced approval for applications for two coal mines in Utah on Thursday after a federal board shut down a pair of coal-fired power plants.

The Bureau of Land Management approved applications to mine a $12.3 million coal tract and extend an existing mine’s life by five years.

“American coal jobs matter,” Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement. “By approving these projects today, we will ensure that these mines are operational for years to come, providing well-paying jobs and affordable energy to the people of Utah.”

DOI’s announcement came hours after federal regulators with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) voted to close the last remaining unit at the Paradise Fossil Plant in Kentucky. The vote came after President Donald Trump advocated for keeping the plant open. (RELATED: Activity Is Plummeting In America’s Biggest Coal Region)

“Coal is an important part of our electricity generation mix and [the TVA] should give serious consideration to all factors before voting to close viable power plants, like Paradise #3 in Kentucky!” Trump tweeted Monday night.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who represents Kentucky, and Republican Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin also pushed to keep the plant open. The TVA board sealed the plant’s fate Thursday and Paradise Fossil will close down by the end of 2020.

TVA regulators also voted to close the Bull Run Fossil Plant in Tennessee by the end of 2023.

“It is not about coal. This decision is about economics,” TVA CEO Bill Johnson said Thursday. “It’s about keeping rates as low as feasible.”

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