Energy regulator may "cast a lifeline" to coal and nuclear

Signal Peak Energy's Bull Mountain coal mine near Roundup, Mont. Photo: Matthew Brown / AP

A top federal energy regulator said Wednesday the federal government may "cast a lifeline" to coal and nuclear power plants while the government conducts a longterm review of America's electricity grid.

"I just think it's prudent to potentially cast a lifeline to certain assets so they can stay afloat while we do this longer term analysis," said Neil Chatterjee, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, during a luncheon with dozens of energy industry executives. "I truly think there is a way to achieve that in a legally defensible manner that does not distort markets."