The Trump administration wants to force electricity customers to pay for a $10.6 billion annual bailout of the failing coal and nuclear industries through surcharges on their monthly energy bills.
The quietly announced proposal would require ratepayers to fully underwrite a new mandate that coal and nuclear plants hold a minimum of 90 days’ worth of fuel on-site under the false premise of providing security from power outages.
But critics say the subsidy is just a massive government-mandated transfer of wealth from consumers to coal and nuclear companies. “This is like changing the energy system from capitalism to communism—and the U.S. government wants to do it within the next two weeks,” said Michael Krancer, a principal at energy policy company Silent Majority Strategies.
The Department of Energy says the fuel stockpiles are necessary to prevent power outages “in times of supply stress, such as recent natural disasters.” But only 0.00007 percent of all major power disruptions over the past five years were due to fuel supply problems, John Larsen, a power sector researcher for the Rhodium Group, told Newsweek.
“The true cause of power loss is on the distribution side—meaning telephone poles going down,” he added. “The presence of a very large pile of coal next to my coal plant doesn’t really change much.” So what is going on? Evidence points to a big handout to Big Coal from a president who campaigned on reviving the declining industry.
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