(Bloomberg) -- President Donald J. Trump is lobbying a federally-owned entity to keep a Kentucky coal-fired power plant operating.
The Tennessee Valley Authority “should give serious consideration to all factors before voting to close viable power plants, like Paradise #3 in Kentucky!” Trump said in a tweet Monday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, also weighed in on Twitter: “Coal has helped fuel our country’s greatness & it needs to be part of our energy future.”
TVA shut two of the units at its Paradise power plant in Muhlenberg County in 2017, after 54 years of operation, replacing them with natural-gas fired generation. The third, with a capacity of 1,150 megawatts, began operating in 1970, according to its website. TVA issued a notice Monday stating that closing Unit 3 was its preferred alternative.
TVA cited flat demand for power coupled with higher costs of operating coal facilities in its decision making.
During an open-comment period, local residents sent more than 1,650 letters opposing the plant closure, citing worries about what it would do to the county’s economy. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has called on TVA to keep the plant operating and workers and residents held a rally over the weekend, according to a story posted on local news station WBKO’s website.
Press officials for TVA had no immediate comment on the president’s tweet and representatives for the governor didn’t respond to emails seeking a response.
Kentucky was the fifth-largest U.S. coal producing state in 2017, the last year for which annual data is available, according to the Energy Information Administration. The state has more coal mines than any other except Pennsylvania. It also depends on coal for 79 percent of its power.
TVA is the largest government-owned power company, formed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt to help electrify rural parts of the South during the Great Depression.
--With assistance from Ari Natter and Jennifer A. Dlouhy.
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