Secretary of Energy Rick Perry took unprecedented action last friday by pushing the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to set aside competitive markets and instead permit government intervention to prop up uneconomic coal-fired power plants. The Secretary’s request would increase electricity bills throughout the nation to subsidize coal plants otherwise unable to compete in a free market.
“This is an unprecedented attack on American’s health, environment, and wallets,” said Jim Marston, vice president, Clean Energy. “Undermining and politicizing our grid will only increase electricity bills throughout the nationwhile increasing dangerous air pollution in our communities.”
Perry’s announcement comes just a month after the Department of Energy attempted to prop up the coal industry with a new study about the reliability of the nation’s electricity grid. The attempt failed when the study proved the grid is reliable.
“Secretary Perry’s entire tenure at the Department of Energy has been one effort after another to prop up the coal industry,” said Marston. “His directive to FERC would set aside competition and free markets to instead mandate winners and losers by favoring coal over other energy resources. It would ultimately increase customers’ energy bills and air pollution, and weaken the critical independence of FERC.