Yesterday, in a tweet, President Trump publicly pressured the Tennessee Valley Authority to keep a coal-fired power plant open even though the TVA has concluded the plant is unreliable, no longer needed, and too expensive to repair and operate.
Coal is an important part of our electricity generation mix and @TVAnews should give serious consideration to all factors before voting to close viable power plants, like Paradise #3 in Kentucky!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 11, 2019
The TVA board is slated to vote on the future of Paradise Unit 3 in just a few days, which is why the pressure is coming now.
Paradise Unit 3 just so happens to get the bulk of its coal from a subsidiary of Murray Energy, a mining company whose CEO Robert Murray, is a major Trump supporter who has asked the president to take other actions to help the ailing coal industry, particularly in regions where he sells coal. (Imagine that!)
This kind of pay-to-play has proven to be par for the course in this administration, but it doesn’t make it any less noteworthy. Murray gave $300,000 to Trump’s inauguration, and Trump is on track to meet most of his demands.
The list of Trump donors who have issued demands is as long as the day.
Rachel Maddow had a segment on it last night, calling it “simple corruption”:
Another destructive tributary of presidential corruption that is flowing through U.S. government policy out of this White House. pic.twitter.com/evkdghG3bt
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) February 13, 2019
This is all just more of our politicians, who get large amounts of their campaign funding from the Koch brothers networks and others in the oil and gas industry, doing all they can to prop up the coal industry despite its obvious decline, more economically sound alternatives are on the rise.
From the Courier-Journal:
At a pro-coal rally over the weekend, the governor joined representatives of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Rand Paul and other Kentucky officials to pressure the TVA board, which meets this week, to keep burning Kentucky-mined coal at the Paradise plant.
“We sit on hundreds of years of supply of the most reliable, most stable, most affordable source of electricity production that the world has ever known,” Bevin said. “There is no capacity now if we shut this facility and others like it to provide what America needs.”
The new environmental assessment by TVA, however, found that energy demand in the utility’s Southeast region was “flat to declining.” The study concluded that “the retirement of a unit with high maintenance and other costs would facilitate TVA’s statutory mission to provide reliable power at the lowest system cost.”