In another win for coal, President Donald Trump directed Energy Secretary Rick Perry last week to take “immediate steps” to bolster struggling coal-fired power plants to keep them open, calling the move a matter of national and economic security.
Trump, who campaigned on a promise to help bring coal jobs back, believes that keeping America’s energy grid secure “protects our national security, public safety and economy from intentional attacks and natural disasters,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement last week.
Trump believes the impending retirement of additional coal-fired power plants would cause further harm to the nation’s electrical grid and reduce its resiliency, Sanders told the Associated Press. She says Trump wants to take immediate action “to stop the loss of these resources.”
Area lawmakers are correctly backing Trump’s directive.
“West Virginia coal has powered this nation and put food on the table for generations of hardworking miners and their families,” U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., said. “Coal is a reliable, affordable, domestic source of energy, one that keeps the heat on during tough winters that tax our electrical grid. Our coal-fired power plants are a critical part of our nation’s power grid and must play a role in an all-of-the-above energy strategy.”
“The recent series of winter storms caused thousands of power outages and drove up rates due to reduced supply, highlighting just how important it is that we have access to affordable and reliable energy sources,” U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., added. “As it has done time and time again over the years, coal proved to be exactly what we needed to power the country, demonstrating its importance in keeping the lights on when other resources were unavailable.”
The two candidates who are vying this November for the closely watched U.S. Senate race in West Virginia, incumbent Joe Manchin and his Republican challenger Patrick Morrisey, both welcomed Trump’s move.
“I applaud President Trump’s administration for its serious consideration as to the national security implications of the energy grid crisis, particularly the importance of eastern coal,” Morrisey said. “Today’s news accurately recognizes that safeguarding the energy grid is a national security issue – not just a domestic energy issue – and that West Virginia coal plays a critical role.
“The security of our homeland is inextricably tied to the security of our energy supply,” Manchin added. “The ability to produce reliable electricity and to recover from disruptions to our grid are critical to ensuring our nation’s security against the various threats facing our nation today – whether those threats be extreme weather events or adversarial foreign actors.”
Jenkins, Capito, Morrisey and Manchin are correct. Coal still plays a critical role in helping to keep the lights on in America while ensuring the continued resiliency of our nation’s electrical grid.
With hope Trump’s directive will help in bolstering coal production jobs right here in southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia.