Our Response to Coal and Nuclear Bailouts

As Christians, we at the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) are constantly trying to find common ground with everyone, including our opponents. The actions of the Trump Administration have been a real boon to finding agreement with those whom we normally disagree. It is exceedingly rare for us to be on the same side with the Heritage Foundation on environmental/energy issues — and yet that’s where we find ourselves.

What has brought us together with the Heritage Foundation? The Trump Administration’s extraordinary efforts to prop up old, uncompetitive coal and nuclear plants. Since everything else has failed, the Administration is now attempting to argue that doing so is necessary for our national security.

Here is what Rachel Zissimos and Katie Tubb of Heritage have to say:

“Politicians and special interests too often inappropriately use national security to justify economically harmful policies that do little, if anything, to enhance national security. The ‘national security card’ gives them a free pass from political debate and taxpayer oversight. That certain coal- and nuclear power plants are no longer competitive is an economic issue, not a security problem.”

We couldn’t agree more. As an op-ed in the conservative Washington Examiner points out, “only 0.00007 percent of all hours in which customers lost electric service were due to fuel emergencies or deficiencies at power plants. That’s less than one hour of outages in a million.”

And yet the Trump Administration wants us to pay billions of dollars to protect against one hour of outage in a million.

While the appeal to national security is both pathetic and absurd, it is also in support of a real threat, namely, the pollution from these old, coal-burning power plants. Such pollutants include mercury and fine particles that are inhaled and harm vital organs including the heart, lungs, and brain. The pollution from these old coal-burning power plants is especially harmful to the unborn and children.

For over a decade EEN has fought to tackle mercury, soot, smog, and carbon together as a pro-life issue. These old coal plants should have been retired long ago for the costs they have hidden in our children’s bodies. The effort of the Trump Administration to keep them polluting in the name of national security is morally obscene.

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