Justice: Coal Mines “Critical” to National Security

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Gov. Jim Justice says his proposed homeland security incentive for eastern U.S. coal mines would cost about $4.5 billion annually.

The West Virginia governor, elected as a Democrat last year, presented the plan to the Trump administration before announcing his switch to rejoin the Republican Party earlier this month.

It calls for paying power companies to burn steam coal mined in northern and central Appalachia.

It’s intended to ensure that energy source continues in the face of difficult market forces and could keep the eastern power grid operating during any emergencies affecting supplies of natural gas or coal mined elsewhere.

Justice, whose family owns mines, says keeping eastern coalfields open is “critical to national security.”

He last week said the White House was receptive though he didn’t have a commitment.