GOP lawmakers: past time for FERC to help coal and nuclear

Source: By Josh siegel, Washington Examiner • Posted: Sunday, November 3, 2019

GOP LAWMAKERS: PAST TIME FOR FERC TO HELP COAL AND NUCLEAR:Two dozen Republican lawmakers — led by West Virginia Congressman David McKinley — are urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to act expeditiously to help coal and nuclear energy compete in electricity markets.

“[F]uel-secure coal and nuclear plants are continuing to close at an alarming rate while the Commission waits to act,” the lawmakers wrote FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee in a letter Friday, obtained by the Washington Examiner.

FERC initially rejected plans by the Department of Energy to subsidize existing coal and nuclear plants, but it opened a docket to look into how to ensure grid “resilience.” But that docket has laid dormant for more than a year, the lawmakers point out.

“The time for action is overdue,” the lawmakers write. “We urge you to revisit this issue and act in an urgent and thorough fashion.” The letter asks Chatterjee to provide specific updates on timing for action and the commission’s next steps.

Pressure builds on FERC: The lawmakers’ letter comes just days after coal mining giant Murray Energy filed for bankruptcy protections, prompting new questions about whether the Trump administration would try again to help out increasingly retiring coal plants.

Chatterjee recently said he wants FERC to develop a unanimous definition of resilience, which sources tell Abby grid operators could then use to give coal and nuclear a boost in the electricity markets.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a confirmation hearing next week for James Danly, who once confirmed would Republicans a 3-1 majority on the commission.