When asked about the potential use of the Defense Production Act (DPA) to prop up aging and uneconomic power plants, FERC Chairman Kevin McIntyre put it simply: “It’s perhaps not the most obvious fit.”

Recent commentary from industry experts reiterate the point:

Devin Hartman, Electricity Policy Manager, R Street Institute: “What DOE is doing now is essentially scrubbing all potential statutes to find something that could be the most legally defensible case.”

Tom Pyle, President, American Energy Alliance: “The Department of Energy realizes these approaches are pretty dramatic and probably not doable.”

Mike McKenna, conservative environmental adviser: “This is using a cleaver in lieu of a scalpel.”

Further commentary on the misuse of DPA are below:

Devin Hartman, Electricity Policy Manager At R Street Institute: “This Isn’t What Any Of These Statutes Were Meant To Do.” “‘What DOE is doing now is essentially scrubbing all potential statutes to find something that could be the most legally defensible case,’ Devin Hartman, electricity policy manager at the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank, told the Washington Examiner. ‘The constitutionalist in all of us should just be crying out and saying this isn’t what any of these statutes were meant to do. Abusing something like a defense statute for civilian purposes undermines national security and our rule of law.'” (Josh Siegel, “Trump’s ‘Hail Mary’ To Save Coal And Nuclear Plants Draws Skepticism,” Washington Examiner, 5/10/18)

Tom Pyle, President Of American Energy Alliance, Calls Energy Department Approaches “Dramatic,” “Hail Mary Passes.” “Tom Pyle, president of the free-market American Energy Alliance and Trump’s former Energy Department transition team leader, said the administration will run into the same problems with the Defense Production Act. ‘They are clearly in a tough spot,’ Pyle told the Washington Examiner. ‘The Department of Energy realizes these approaches are pretty dramatic and probably not doable. So what they are doing is struggling with the idea of needing to gently tell the industry we can’t do these Hail Mary passes. It’s impossible to do legally, and they’d be stretching the intent of the law to the point it could be challenged in court.'” (Josh Siegel, “Trump’s ‘Hail Mary’ To Save Coal And Nuclear Plants Draws Skepticism,” Washington Examiner, 5/10/18)

Mike McKenna, Conservative Environmental Adviser, Calls DPA “A Cleaver In Lieu Of A Scalpel.” “Mike McKenna, a conservative environmental adviser with close ties to the Trump transition team, argues those considerations are not worth the effort. ‘It is ridiculous,’ he told the Washington Examiner. ‘If we think coal has value that is not being properly accounted for, let’s figure that out and find a way to account for it. This is using a cleaver in lieu of a scalpel.'” (Josh Siegel, “Trump’s ‘Hail Mary’ To Save Coal And Nuclear Plants Draws Skepticism,” Washington Examiner, 5/10/18)

Six Consumer And Trade Groups Wrote Jointly To The Energy Department That DPA Use Would Be Illegal. “Natural gas, renewable, and energy efficiency groups have joined forces in urging the Energy Department to not invoke the Defense Production Act, saying such a move would be illegal. ‘As broad as it is, the Defense Production Act is not broad enough to do what the supporters of these uneconomic power plants would like,’ six groups wrote this week in joint comments to the Energy Department. ‘The Defense Production does not allow the government to set prices. Nor does it allow the government to force market participants to buy products or services they do not wish to buy.'” (Josh Siegel, “Trump’s ‘Hail Mary’ To Save Coal And Nuclear Plants Draws Skepticism,” Washington Examiner, 5/10/18)

John Shelk, President And CEO Of The Electric Power Supply Association: The DPA Would Be “Taking Our Economic Interest.” “‘If they want to nationalize the power industry they will have to nationalize all of us,’ John Shelk, the president and CEO of the the Electric Power Supply Association, which represents merchant utility companies and contributed to the letter, told the Washington Examiner. ‘You will also have to pay us because you are taking our economic interest.'” (Josh Siegel, “Trump’s ‘Hail Mary’ To Save Coal And Nuclear Plants Draws Skepticism,” Washington Examiner, 5/10/18)