- The Washington Times - Friday, December 8, 2017

Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s highly controversial plan to subsidize coal and nuclear power plants hit a roadblock late Thursday when the newly installed chief of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said he wants to postpone a decision on the proposal until after the new year.

The initiative, known as the Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule, would offer financial incentives to facilities that keep at least 90 days’ worth of fuel on site. The idea is widely viewed as an effort to promote more coal development in this country, and to offer financial rewards to utilities that stockpile coal at their plants.

Mr. Perry published the rule in the Federal Register on Oct. 10, and a decision was supposed to be made within 60 days.

But new FERC Chairman Kevin McIntyre, who was just sworn into office this week, made it one of his first orders of business to seek a 30-day delay, which would push the deadline to Jan. 10. He said new FERC commissioners need time to learn more about the proposal and sift through public comments.

“To date, the Commission has received over 1,500 submissions,” he wrote in a letter to Mr. Perry on Thursday evening. “In addition, the Commission has sworn in two new members within the last two weeks. The proposed extension is critical to afford adequate time for the new Commissioners to consider the voluminous record and engage fully in deliberations.”

Coal industry leaders have strongly supported Mr. Perry’s plan, while environmentalists and others have opposed it, framing it as an attempt by the Trump administration to prop up a failing coal industry.

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