Law360 and POWER Magazine Quote Jason Johns on Trump Coal, Nuke Plant Bailout Order

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“What's happening is the DOE is seeking to completely ignore what is happening in the markets with these facilities, and is doing so with the claim there's a potential national security issue at hand.” —Jason Johns in Law360 article.

Energy partner Jason Johns was quoted in POWER magazine in an article titled “Swift (and Angry) Reaction to Trump Move to Save Coal, Nuclear Plants,” published June 1, 2018, and in Law360 in an article titled “Trump Subverts FERC With Coal, Nuke Plant Bailout Order,” published June 1, 2018. (Subscription required.) The articles discuss the reaction after President Trump directed the Department of Energy to take steps to delay the retirement of uneconomic coal and nuclear plants. Experts argue the move could result in a large number of legal challenges as well as undermining the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s authority over the nation’s electric grid.

Opposition to the proposed plan came from various sources, whose objections include that it will: 

  • jeopardize the goal of reducing dependence on foreign energy and achieving U.S. energy dominance around the world;
  • drive up customer costs and undermine well-functioning power markets through unnecessary federal intervention that involves propping up uneconomic plants through the Defense Production Act and Federal Power Act; and
  • refocus the discussion from where it should be to increase grid resiliency – reliably serving power customers in the most cost-efficient manner over both the short and the long-term. 

Johns notes that several states have already made moves to subsidize nuclear power and believes the administration’s actions are primarily directed towards coal plants, which employ fewer people than the solar industry. He said that the administration’s “transparent efforts to meddle with market realities under the pretext of national security, and the continued push to resolve the imaginary, and woefully undefined, issue of grid resilience — something that America’s wholesale energy market operators largely laughed at and rejected — simply fails the smell test.”

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