W.Va. governor pitches coal plant subsidies to Trump

W.Va. governor pitches coal plant subsidies to Trump
© Screenshot

President Trump is “really interested” in an idea to pay power plants to buy Appalachian coal, West Virginia’s governor said.

Gov. Jim Justice, who was elected last year as a Democrat but switched to the Republican Party last week at a Trump rally, told Bloomberg News that he pitched a $15 per ton federal subsidy for coal-fired power plants to use eastern United States coal.

Justice recently spent some time with Trump and made the proposal before his public switch to the GOP, he said.

ADVERTISEMENT
“He’s really interested. He likes the idea,” Justice, a billionaire coal and real estate mogul, told Bloomberg. “Naturally, he’s trying to vet the whole process. It’s a complicated idea.”

Justice said that rolling back environmental regulations, as Trump and his administration are doing, will not be enough to bring back the Appalachian coal industry. It has been declining for years, due to natural gas, competition from cheaper Western coal, regulations and more.

He’s pitching the payments, which would come from the Department of Homeland Security, as a national security issue, saying the country is becoming too reliant on other power sources like natural gas. 

He added that any attacks or disruptions would be disastrous.

“Can you imagine what would happen if we lost the power in the east for a month, or two months, or three months?” Justice asked in the Bloomberg interview. “It would be like a nuclear blast went off. You would lose hundreds of thousands of people. It would be just absolute chaos beyond belief.’’

The White House told Bloomberg that it had no announcements to make regarding any potential policies.