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A coal-fired power plant in Springdale, Pennsylvania. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

President Trump appeared to signal Thursday that he'll soon examine a plea by the financially struggling power company, FirstEnergy Solutions Corp., for the Energy Department (DOE) to support the operation of its coal-fired and nuclear plants.

Why it matters: Trump's remarks in West Virginia lacked detail, but nonetheless show that the controversial request for DOE to make sweeping use of its emergency powers has landed on the White House's radar screen.

What he said: According to tweets from Argus Media's Chris Knight and other reports, Trump said, "We'll be looking at that 202, you know what a 202 is, we'll be looking at that, we're trying," and "About nine of your people just came up to me outside, could you talk about 202, and we'll be looking at that as soon as we get back."

What that probably means: It's an apparent reference to FirstEnergy's March 29 request for DOE to use its powers under Section 202(c) of the Federal Power Act to keep companies' coal-fired and nuclear plants running and ensure they're "compensated fairly."

One level deeper: As we noted in Axios' Generate newsletter last week, FirstEnergy wants DOE to alter market conditions in the PJM Interconnection region, which covers all or parts of 13 states — including Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia — and contains a substantial number of coal and nuclear plants operated by multiple companies.

  • Their filing says DOE should order PJM to ensure financially challenged coal and nuclear plants are compensated by ratepayers for the "full benefits they provide to energy markets and the public at large, including fuel security and diversity."

DOE has said they are reviewing the request.

Go deeper

36 mins ago - World

Top Chinese diplomat warns Biden against meddling in country's affairs

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Photo: Greg Baker - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in a speech on Sunday warned the U.S. against getting involved in China's "internal affairs," saying that "both sides need to abide by the principle of non-interference," CNBC reports.

Why it matters: Biden has promised a hardline approach with China. Tensions between the U.S. and China had heightened for years under the Trump administration.

America rebalances its post-Trump news diet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Nearly halfway through President Biden's first 100 days, data shows that Americans are learning to wean themselves off of news — and especially politics.

Why it matters: The departure of former President Trump's once-ubiquitous presence in the news cycle has reoriented the country's attention.

Why migrants are fleeing their homes for the U.S.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios Photo: Herika Martinez /Getty Images 

Natural disasters in Central America, economic devastation, gang wars, political oppression, and a new administration are all driving the sharp rise in U.S.-Mexico border crossings — a budding crisis for President Biden.

Why it matters: Migration flows are complex and quickly politicized. Biden's policies are likely sending signals that are encouraging the surge — but that's only a small reason it's happening.