GOP ex-energy regulator: Rick Perry’s bailout for Trump-backing coal CEO gives customers ‘less than nothing’
Bob Murray, the Trump-backing CEO of coal producer Murray Energy, has a lot riding on Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s new plan that would deliver sweeping changes to America’s electricity markets.
In fact, the company has even admitted publicly that it will likely face bankruptcy if Perry’s plan falls through.
As Politico reports, Perry has crafted a plan to “alter the nation’s electricity markets would provide a windfall for a small group of companies,” including Murray Energy. Specifically, the plan would force U.S. consumers to subsidize financially ailing coal and nuclear plants on the pretense that keeping them online would act as insurance to help keep power up during a massive terrorist attack or a severe weather event such as a hurricane.
However, the plan is being slammed by a wide array of interests — including environmental groups, the natural gas industry, and even the American Petroleum Institute.
“Customers get less than nothing while a few companies and their investors get a whole lot of something,” Nora Mead Brownell, a Republican former electricity regulator, tells Politico. “Money that gets spent there doesn’t get invested in doing what you really need to do, which is upgrading the grid.”
The publication also notes that, in Murray Energy’s public comments to regulators, it has acknowledged that its continued existence hinges on the Perry plan.
“Murray Energy has a vital and critical interest in the outcome of this rulemaking proceeding,” the company explained last month. “Given the current threats to those resources, Murray Energy, along with other coal producers and related industries … is threatened with bankruptcy and significant economic harm if those resources are forced out of the market by unreasonable and unsupportable market pricing mechanisms.