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Photo: Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration's plans to directly intervene in power markets to prop up economically struggling coal-fired and nuclear power plants have been "shelved" for now, Politico reported last night.

Why it matters: The story underscores the challenge of finding legally and politically viable policy levers to directly keep these plants afloat, even as the White House pushes ahead with efforts to aid the coal sector by scaling back Obama-era pollution rules.

Where it stands: An Energy Department-led effort has been seeking ways to use sweeping federal national security powers to aid plants facing severe market pressures from cheap natural gas, renewables and regulations.

  • "But the White House has shelved the plan amid opposition from the president’s own advisers on the National Security Council and National Economic Council," Politico reports, citing 4 sources with "knowledge of the discussions."

The intrigue: Politico reports that one of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s biggest problems is "figuring out who would pay the billions of dollars needed to keep money-losing power plants operating" and the prospect of the plan raising consumer costs.

The big picture: The administration — in an argument hotly disputed by numerous experts — says that it's essential to aid these coal and nuclear plants to ensure grid reliability, especially as officials review gas pipelines' vulnerability to cyber and physical attacks.

  • The White House did not comment when contacted by Axios last night.

Separately in coal policy, the Associated Press reports:

"The Trump administration is considering using West Coast military bases or other federal properties as transit points for shipments of U.S. coal and natural gas to Asia, as officials seek to bolster the domestic energy industry and circumvent environmental opposition to fossil fuel exports."

Go deeper

Muslim families hope to reunite following Biden's travel ban repeal

Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Muslim Americans across the U.S. are celebrating President Biden's day-1 reversal of former President Trump's travel ban that targeted several Muslim-majority countries.

The big picture: The repeal of what many critics called the "Muslim ban" renews hope for thousands of families separated by Trump's order.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  4. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  5. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries.
  6. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.
Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Health

Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden's plan to accelerate the reopening of K-8 schools faces major challenges from a still out-of-control pandemic and more contagious coronavirus variants.

Why it matters: The longer American kids miss in-person schooling, the further they fall behind. But the uncertain state of the science on the role young children play in the pandemic continues to complicate efforts to reopen schools.

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