Martins Ferry Times Leader: Trump calls for plant protection

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Wheeling, June 4, 2018 | comments
President Donald Trump said Friday he believes the nation’s coal-fired and nuclear plants are vital to national security, and he directed Energy Secretary Rick Perry to take “immediate steps” to keep them open.
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President Donald Trump said Friday he believes the nation’s coal-fired and nuclear plants are vital to national security, and he directed Energy Secretary Rick Perry to take “immediate steps” to keep them open.

Both Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., have been encouraging Trump to use his power under the Defense Production Act and the Federal Power Act to protect power plants already investing in emissions control.

The Defense Production Act gives the president powers to assure the nation can produce whatever resources are necessary in the time of national need.

The Trump Administration has determined coal-fired are vital to the protection of the nation’s energy grid, according to a statement released Friday by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

“President Trump has directed Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to prepare immediate steps to stop the loss of these resources, and looks forward to his recommendations,” Sanders said.

“President Trump believes in total energy independence and dominance, and that keeping America’s energy grid and infrastructure strong and secure protects our national security, public safety and economy from intentional attacks and natural disasters.

Unfortunately, impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities are leading to a rapid depletion of a critical part of our nation’s energy mix, and impacting the resilience of our power grid.”

Manchin said Friday he is glad Trump is considering his idea to support coal-fired and nuclear plants under the Defense Production Act.

“The security of our homeland is inextricably tied to the security of our energy supply,” he said. “The ability to produce reliable electricity and to recover from disruptions to our grid are critical to ensuring our nation’s security against the various threats facing our nation today — whether those threats be extreme weather events or adversarial foreign actors.

“The Defense Production Act grants the President the authority to ensure that the nation’s domestic industrial base is capable of providing the essential materials and resources needed to defend our nation and protect our sovereignty and it recognizes energy production and critical infrastructure as strategic and crucial to that goal.”

McKinley said the closure of additional power plants will weaken America’s national security.

“With coal and nuclear plants already closing at alarming rates, the reliability of America’s electric grid is at risk,” he said. “From the Polar Vortex to Hurricane Harvey to the growing threat of cyberattacks from foreign enemies, we’ve seen how weather and other external factors can stress our energy supply and threaten our security.

“We’re encouraged by the news that President Trump is considering invoking emergency authority to secure our electric grid, and we call on him to act quickly to protect America’s national security interests.”

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