Coal

On Capitol Hill Thursday, Energy Secretary Rick Perry defended a controversial proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear power plants. "There's no such thing as a free market in energy," he said in testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "Governments are picking winners and losers every day."

It was a remarkable statement, coming days after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt derided such tipping of the scales as he moved to repeal the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.

Peabody Energy, Inc., via Wikimedia Commons

The Environmental Protection Agency’s move to end the Clean Power Plan is the Trump administration’s latest attempt to support the struggling coal industry. The Department of Energy is also pushing a new way to subsidize coal power. But a new study suggests market forces — not regulations — will still make more coal power plants in the region vulnerable.

Armstrong Energy Inc. website

A coal company that operates five mines in west Kentucky is planning to halt production at its Ohio County mine.

Glynis Board, Ohio Valley ReSource

  Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt used a trip to Kentucky coal country to announce the Trump administration’s plans to dismantle a regulation that sought to limit carbon pollution.

Erica Peterson, WFPL

  A coal industry advocate told Kentucky lawmakers on Thursday that “coal is not a silver bullet” for the country’s energy needs, but said coal should still play a role as natural gas and renewable energy continue to grow.

Southwings and Vivian Stockman

For more than a decade Ohio Valley residents have been asking government agencies to respond to science that links coal mining to health problems in nearby communities. Last year the prestigious National Academy of Sciences launched a study on the issue. But the Trump administration has stopped it. Glynis Board reports on what that means for coal communities and the scientists studying them.

The U.S. power grid could become less reliable if too much electricity comes from renewable energy and natural gas, according to a study from the Department of Energy.

But not everyone is buying it. Environmentalists suspect the Trump administration is just trying to prop up an ailing coal industry.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry called for the study in the spring. The report doesn't say there is a grid reliability problem now — only that one could develop if more coal and nuclear power plants shut down.

iStockPhoto

The U.S. Department of Energy has decided to continue to fund research that investigates recovery of rare earth elements from coal and coal byproducts.

Vivian Stockman and Southwings

The Trump administration’s Department of the Interior has asked the National Academy of Sciences to suspend research into the health effects of mountaintop removal coal mining.

Anna Boiko-Weyrauch, via Ohio Valley ReSource

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, who recently switched to the Republican party, is asking President Trump for more help for the coal industry. Glynis Board of the Ohio Valley ReSource reports that Justice wants payments from the federal government to offset the costs of Appalachian coal.

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