Nationalizing Coal Plants Could Be A Surprise Gift To Climate Hawks

This article discusses Trump’s plans for coal.

The White House is considering plans to invoke an obscure, Cold War-era law to prop up struggling coal-fired power plants, a move that some say could open the door for Democrats to take radical steps to phase out fossil fuels.

The Defense Production Act gives the president broad authority to intervene in industries deemed vital amid war or disaster, including nationalizing systemically important companies to avert catastrophe. In 1952, President Harry Truman applied the statute to nationalize the steel industry and forestall a nationwide strike.

But President Donald Trump is weighing using the law to fulfill a campaign promise and halt coal plant closures, according to a Bloomberg report published late last month. It’s unclear what the program would look like. The Trump administration could spend taxpayer money to bail out some coal-fired plants and require that utilities keep greater stocks of coal on site, effectively nationalizing and dictating the energy market. The White House did not return a request for comment.

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