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Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan Opposes Federal Rule to Subsidize Coal and Nuclear Plants

October 30, 2017

CONTACT: Laura B. Murphy, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-3186

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced that he joined a coalition including 12 other state attorneys general and state agencies to oppose a proposed U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) rule to subsidize coal and nuclear power plants. The coalition argues that DOE’s proposed rule would undermine state energy laws and policies, burden customers with additional costs and risks, and threaten the progress states like Vermont have made in reducing emissions.

The proposed rule essentially exempts coal and nuclear power plants from having to compete in the market with other sources of power. It requires customers to pay the coal and nuclear power plants for all of their expenses plus a profit, regardless of inefficiencies or above-market costs.

Purportedly based on a need to ensure grid reliability, the comments argue that the DOE’s proposed rule is actually unnecessary. The comments note that the bulk power system is reliable today, and the tools are in place to ensure that it will continue to reliably keep the lights on in the future. Many states have already retired aging, uneconomic coal plants and are successfully integrating clean energy resources and innovations that benefit system reliability, while at the same time lowering energy costs and improving public health and air quality.

Joining Vermont in the comments were the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington; the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection; the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers; and the New Hampshire Office of Consumer Advocate.

Last modified: March 12, 2018