The Trump administration just snuck through its most devious coal subsidy yet

By David Roberts | Vox Link to article

How a new FERC order will help old, polluting power plants stay alive

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump repeatedly promised to save American coal, and when he first came into office, he made several rather theatrical attempts to do so. He had the Department of Energy (DOE) instruct the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to bail out coal based on its supposed resiliency benefits, and when FERC wisely rejected that idea, he threatened to use DOE emergency powers to bail out coal plants on national-security grounds. That widely mocked proposal never got off the ground either.

Since then, Trump has become distracted by other matters and doesn’t talk about coal as much. But the administration has continued to find ways to help coal, from rolling back pollution regulations to killing Congress’s attempt to extend clean energy tax credits.

Still, coal plants are closing faster than ever — for the simple reason that energy markets are turning against coal. There are cheaper, cleaner, better alternatives. So the coal boosters have turned to the lodestone strategy to rig markets, to exclude coal’s social and environmental costs and include phantom benefits like “fuel security.”

Now the Trump administration has found a clever new way to do that. Last week, the administration secured what might be its biggest victory yet on coal’s behalf.

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