FERC Rejects Illegal DOE Proposal to Prop Up Coal and Nuclear Plants

WASHINGTON, DC – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today rejected Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s controversial proposal designed to prop up aging and financially failing coal and nuclear plants.

Following is a statement from John Moore, director of the Sustainable FERC Project coalition housed within the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“The law and common sense prevailed over special interests today. The FERC correctly found that the Department of Energy’s proposal violated the basic requirements of the Federal Power Act.  Secretary Perry’s plan would have subsidized coal and nuclear plants with a 90-day fuel supply, yet Perry never explained why those plants were inherently more reliable or resilient.

“FERC’s decision to ask the regional grid operators how they currently ensure a resilient grid is a reasonable first step. A well-thought-out inquiry into resilience could help strengthen America’s electric grid. But that will happen only if FERC abandons the Trump administration’s inappropriate focus on aging and unneeded coal and nuclear plants, properly defines resilience, and truly investigates how to build a 21st century electricity system.

“We need a grid that depends on fewer, not more, power plants creating the pollution fueling the extreme weather threatening the system’s ability to bounce back from these events. That means we need more energy efficiency, wind and solar power to be truly resilient.

“Rick Perry’s scheme to prop up aging nuclear and dirty coal plants was never about making sure the lights and heat stayed on. It was about protecting the bank accounts of plant owners with a bailout worth billions at the expense of everyday Americans’ budgets, health, and safety. 

Moore and NRDC clean energy attorney Miles Farmer, who also closely follows the issue, are available for comment.

Recent NRDC blogs on the topic can be found here:

Cold temps prove value of electricity grid markets, planning

DOE Plan to Prop Up Coal and Nuclear Gets Little Support

FERC Returns to Full Strength and Faces Key Decisions

The Sustainable FERC Project website can be found here.


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC

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