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Trump order could prop up West Virginia coal plants, but many warn of consumer cost


Charleston Gazette-Mail

A pile of coal at the John Amos Power Plant near St. Albans.
(Gazette-Mail file photo)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As West Virginians continue to see their utility bills rise, the regional electric grid serving the state is among those warning that attempts by President Donald Trump’s administration to keep coal and nuclear power plants from closing will lead to higher electricity prices.

Trump has ordered the U.S. Department of Energy to stop unprofitable coal and nuclear power plants from closing due to what his administration says are concerns for national security and grid reliability. An internal White House memo outlined a plan to keep the plants alive, Bloomberg News reported. The department would direct grid operators to purchase power or generating capacity “from a designated list of facilities” for two years to put impending closures on pause, according to the report.

Gov. Jim Justice and West Virginia’s congressional delegation have lauded the move, making similar arguments relating to energy security.

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