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Perry’s Rejected Coal Bailout Proposal Isn’t the Only Bailout Threat

Statement of Tyson Slocum, Director, Public Citizen’s Energy Program

WASHINGTON - Note: The White House has shelved U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s coal bailout proposal.

A year and a half ago, Public Citizen cautioned that the real bailout threat lay not with the U.S. Department of Energy but with the privatized regional markets. And, sure enough, in June, one of them received a green light from a bitterly divided (3-2) Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to bail out uneconomic generation by forcing higher bidding costs for renewable energy. The privatized market operators, susceptible to undue influence by their powerful coal, gas and nuclear members, are actively attacking cheap renewables through complex market redesigns.

Right now, FERC probably is handcuffed from finalizing the approval of any market bailout, as the commission is deadlocked 2-2. But President Donald Trump’s new FERC pick – coal- and nuclear-bailout ringleader Bernard McNamee – likely was nominated for his reliable pro-coal background under Rick Perry at the Department of Energy and at the radical Texas Public Policy Foundation.

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