David J. Hayes: No Legal Basis for Subsidizing Coal, Distorting Electricity Markets, and Penalizing Clean Energy

June 1, 2018
Contact: Christopher Gray

Washington, D.C.David J. Hayes, executive director of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at NYU School of Law and former Interior deputy secretary in the Obama and Clinton Administrations, released the following statement after reports surfaced of a Trump Administration proposal to use national security concerns to justify interfering in the operation of electricity markets:

“If true, the report that the White House may intervene in electricity markets to bail out non-competitive coal plants is disturbing. State attorneys general, consumer advocates, and the business community presented compelling evidence in a recent FERC proceeding that the electric grid is not threatened by the retirement of coal plants. Likewise, a coalition of state attorneys general have shown that there is no legal basis for Secretary Perry to declare a grid ‘emergency’ based on coal plant retirements.”

“Based on the evidence already developed on this issue, it would be a fool’s errand for the Department of Energy to try to concoct a national security argument as a solution to a problem that does not exist. Rather than subsidizing coal, the grid should continue to honor the market forces that have facilitated the rapid growth of cost-competitive and customer-favored clean energy.”

ABOUT THE STATE ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT CENTER: The State Energy & Environmental Impact Center is a non-partisan Center at the NYU School of Law that is dedicated to helping state attorneys general fight against regulatory rollbacks and advance clean energy, climate change, and environmental values and protections. It was launched in August 2017 with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies. For more information, visit http://www.law.nyu.edu/centers/state-impact.