Despite pressure from Trump, coal-fueled power plants to shutter in Kentucky, Tennessee – NBC News

An independent federal agency announced that it would close two coal plants, including one that buys its fuel from one of President Donald Trump’s campaign contributors, despite public pressure from the president to keep it open.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) said Thursday that it had decided to close two outdated coal plants over the next few years, including one in Kentucky that bought much of its fuel from Murray Energy. That company is owned by Robert Murray, a generous supporter of the president.

The board met Thursday to discuss the potential shuttering of the plants that are 50 years old after a series of TVA assessments deemed them to be obsolescent and wasteful of energy. The public utility said earlier in the week that the facilities produced a steady, inflexible amount of power and could not bend to “the increased volatility in energy consumption” of its customer base.

In a 5-2 vote, the board of directors chose to shutter the Kentucky’s Paradise plant in 2020 and Tennessee’s Bull Run plant in 2023. The two dissenting votes came from Trump administration appointees.

“Making decisions that impact employees and communities is difficult as we fulfill our commitment to keep power rates as low as possible,’” said TVA President and CEO Bill Johnson. “We value the contributions of the employees of Paradise and Bull Run, and we will be working directly with them and local communities to ease the transition as much as possible.”

The decision came despite Republican politicians, including Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul of Kentucky, urging to keep the plants open.

The president entered the fray over the potential closure on Monday, stating on Twitter that TVA needed to “give serious consideration to all factors before voting to close viable power plants, like Paradise #3 in Kentucky.”

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