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Trump should fire energy officials for rejecting Perry plan – Mr Bob Murray

Coal News - Published on Thu, 11 Jan 2018

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The Hill reported that CEO of the nation’s largest privately held coal mining company says President Trump should fire four of the five commissioners who rejected Energy Secretary Mr Rick Perry’s plan to help coal and nuclear power plants. Mr Bob Murray, head of Murray Energy Corp, said the members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an independent agency, “defaulted” on their duties by rebuffing the plan to stop coal and nuclear plants from closing. Supporters said the reliability of the electric grid was at stake. Mr Murray told The Hill that “I believe that the Trump administration, with the exception of Neil Chatterjee, picked three bad appointees for FERC. And they should all be fired.”

Mr Murray is an outspoken advocate for coal. He accused former President Barack Obama of being the “nation’s greatest destroyer” and said last year that Obama should be charged criminally for actions toward the coal industry.

He’s also a close ally of Trump, having met with him on multiple occasions to push for pro-coal policies.

Trump nominated all of the FERC commissioners, except Democrat Cheryl LaFleur, last year, and the Senate confirmed them.

Mr Murray said LaFleur and fellow Democrat Richard Glick opposed Perry’s proposal because they oppose coal, but Republicans Kevin McIntyre and Rob Powelson “did not follow what should have been done in this case.”

FERC on Monday declared that Perry’s proposal could not be legally implemented because it didn’t identify problems with current electricity policies that warrant action under the Federal Power Act.

Mr Perry wanted electric grid operators to pay coal and nuclear plants more for their power than other sources, likely increasing electricity costs, on the grounds that the power they provide is less likely to be interrupted than other sources.

Mr Chatterjee, a Kentucky native who used to work for Sen. Mitch McConnell, has been outspoken as an advocate of taking some kind of action to save coal and nuclear plants from closing.

Mr Murray said Chatterjee that “apparently was overwhelmed by the other four.”

Since FERC is an independent agency, it is difficult for Trump to remove any commissioners, except in cases like malfeasance or neglect of duty.

Mr Murray predicted that companies that run coal plants would start announcing closures in the coming days. He said that “I believe that you’re going to see action from some utilities relative to decommissioning nuclear and coal-fired plants. We were trying to stave that off.”

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Posted By : Nanda Koijam on Thu, 11 Jan 2018
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