The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board’s piece against the proposed bailout for coal and nuclear plants, along with an ever-growing list of conservative and free market voices who are weighing in against the proposal. You can find commentary from Heritage, Cato, R Street, Citizens For Responsible Energy Solutions, and more below along with links.
My favorite bit from The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board:
“As Governor of Texas, Mr. Perry often visited our offices to explain why the U.S. government shouldn’t pick energy winners and losers. He’s still right even if he has moved to Washington.”
Further commentary below.
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: “There’s No Emergency,” And The Proposal “Will Do More Harm Than Good.” “The National Security Council on Friday reviewed a 41-page internal memo, leaked to Bloomberg News, suggesting that President Trump invoke emergency authority to require grid operators to buy nuclear and coal power. But there’s no emergency, and the political intervention will do more harm than good.” (Editorial Board, “Rick Perry’s Obama Imitation,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/5/18)
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: The Proposal Would Raise Consumer Prices, Is “Politically Abusive.” “Mandating that grid operators buy more expensive coal and nuclear power would raise consumer prices and could reduce natural gas production that has been a boon to many states. And note to Mr. Trump: Energy is one of the biggest costs for steel and aluminum manufacturers. The government rescue for coal and nuclear is as politically abusive as Mr. Obama’s lawless policy to punish fossil fuels.” (Editorial Board, “Rick Perry’s Obama Imitation,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/5/18)
Katie Tubb Of Heritage Says The Administration’s Proposal Is Not Sound, Principled Policy. “Katie Tubb, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, said the administration can’t find justification in past experience to subsidize the plants, so it is evoking potential future threats like cyber attacks and terrorism. In her view, the plan stretches the limits of the Federal Power Act and the Defense Production Act to achieve a political goal. Tubb equated the proposal to President Barack Obama’s use of the Clean Air Act to justify his move to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants under the Clean Power Plan, which conservatives often frame as an abuse of authority. ‘Neither are sound, principled policy and both promise harm to consumers. Instead, the President should turn dedicated attention to reversing the underlying policies that are causing the problems he wants to fix,’ Tubb said.” (Tom DiChristopher, “‘Economy Crippling’ And ‘Third Grade’ Work: Conservatives Pan Trump’s Move To Save Failing Coal And Nuclear Plants,” CNBC, 6/5/18)
Sarah Hunt In Townhall Describes Request To Bail Out Aging Plants As “Expanding Executive Authority, COntorting Ill-Suited Statues And Regulatory Processes To Achieve Their Policy Aims.” “Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump might seem like opposites in many regards, but they adopted similar strategies regarding energy policy: both presidents sought to implement their energy priorities through expanding executive authority, contorting ill-suited statutes and regulatory processes to achieve their policy aims. Using executive power to expand energy regulation and create new subsidies has questionable long-term efficacy. It only delays the real work that needs to be done to update America’s environment and energy laws.” (Sarah Hunt, “Energy Policy Is The ‘Canary In The Coal Mine’ Of Executive Power Expansion,” Townhall, 6/6/18)
Citizens For Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) Managing Director Heather Reams: “Government Policy That Picks Winners And Losers Will Inevitably Stifle The Very Innovation.” “Maximizing the economic potential of American energy begins with harnessing the power of the free market. America’s electric power system is becoming more diverse, and more resilient every day, with significant investments in newer and increasingly more efficient technologies. Government policy that picks winners and losers will inevitably stifle the very innovation that enables this economic growth and critically important energy independence. Absent the presence of a true and demonstrable energy emergency, CRES agrees with industry leaders and policy experts that there is no justification for the use of these emergency powers.” (Heather Reams, “CRES Statement On Request To DOE Regarding Emergency Powers,” Citizens For Responsible Energy Solutions, 6/1/18)
Peter Van Doren Of Cato Institute: “This Has No Intellectual Basis By Anybody Beyond The Third Grade.” “Peter Van Doren, senior fellow at the Cato Institute and editor of the journal ‘Regulation,’ said the plan threatens to wipe out the intellectual effort that went into creating deregulated, competitive power markets in many parts of the country over the last 25 years. Those markets already put in place a system that effectively makes consumers pay for excess power capacity that can be tapped in times of high demand, he said. Meanwhile, the nation’s remaining regulated markets in the South and West already have the authority to pass on the cost of keeping the plants open to rate payers. ‘This has no intellectual basis by anybody beyond the third grade,’ Van Doren told CNBC.” (Tom DiChristopher, “‘Economy Crippling’ And ‘Third Grade’ Work: Conservatives Pan Trump’s Move To Save Failing Coal And Nuclear Plants,” CNBC, 6/5/18)
R Street: “If Grid Resilience Is Actually A Matter Of National Security, The Trump Administration Is Asleep At The Wheel.” “The paper highlighted that over 90% of service outages occur from distribution-level problems and, since distribution falls under state jurisdiction, grid resilience therefore falls primarily on state governments. The study also examined the relative values of measures to improve grid resilience, finding that coal and nuclear subsidies have very low value, while over two dozen measures have far higher value (see chart below). Read another way, if grid resilience is actually a matter of national security, the Trump administration is asleep at the wheel.” (Devin Hartman, “Where’s The Grid Resilience Fire? (Hint: It’s Not Retiring Power Plants),” R Street, 6/2/18)