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article imageTVA votes to close two coal plants in blow to Trump

By Karen Graham     Feb 15, 2019 in Politics
Frankfort - The Tennessee Valley Authority voted on Thursday to close two aging coal-fired power plants, including one supplied by a company led by a major supporter of President Donald Trump, who had urged the U.S.-owned utility to keep it open.
The TVA voted to retire the remaining coal-fired unit by December 2020 at the Paradise Fossil Plant along the Green River in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, and the Bull Run Fossil Plant near Oak Ridge, Tennessee, by December 2023, reports the Boston Globe.
The board voted 5-2 to approve the closures. The two members who voted to keep them open were both appointed by Trump. “It is not about coal. This decision is about economics,” said TVA President and Chief Executive Bill Johnson, who is retiring from the TVA. “It’s about keeping rates as low as feasible.”
Back in December, Johnson told Reuters the TVA plans to keep cutting carbon emissions in future years after retiring much of its coal-fired fleet with power plants run on natural gas, nuclear and renewables.
The shift to cleaner energy sources has frustrated not only Trump but political leaders in Kentucky, including Mitch McConnell. "We hoped the TVA would listen and be on our side, but instead, they rejected coal ... and ignored the impact this decision will have on hundreds of hard-working Kentuckians and their families," McConnell said, reports CBS News.
Actually, the closure of the Paradise plant could put 131 people out of work. Also, the coal the TVA buys from nearby coal mines supports 135 jobs. McConnell also doesn't mention that both plants have operated only sporadically the past few years and have become too expensive to maintain.
The closure of the Paradise plant is also a heavy blow to the company which supplied most of its coal - Murray Energy, chaired by Robert Murray, a donor to Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. Murray is also frequently invited to events held by the administration.
In 2017, after Trump took office, Murray actually presented the administration with his "wish list" of the environmental regulations he wanted to be removed. Of course, a major part of Trump's base is made up of voters in coal regions. For this reason, the administration has made keeping coal-fired power plants running and rolling back environmental rules its priority.
More about Zoltan Istvan, coal plants, Closures, Trump, Economics
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