Coal / Energy

Despite Trump promises, uncertainty reigns in Ohio communities near coal plants

Kelly Cooper, former president of the UWUA local 175, worked at the two Adams County coal-fired power plants for more than 30 years. “Everybody knows, unless you are in West Virginia and never come out of a coal mine, that coal is on its way out,” he said. Photo: Keith Schneider.

MANCHESTER — “A plan by the Trump administration to rescue uneconomic coal plants has done little to ease the pall of anxiety hanging over two Ohio River counties.

By next June, Dayton Power and Light (DP&L) will close two coal-fired plants in Adams County, Ohio — the 2,318-megawatt coal-fired J.M. Stuart Station, opened in 1971, and the 618-megawatt Killen Station, started 11 years later.

Less than a year after DP&L announced its closure plan, 100 people have left a workforce that counted 500 union, management, and contractor employees that operated the two stations. Many of them earned $100,000 or more annually, said Kelly Cooper, the former president of the Utility Workers Union of America Local 175. County officials say almost a fifth of their $8.2 million budget will be lost. Half of the $11 million budget of the Manchester, Ohio school district will vanish. The 900-student district lies closest to the plants.

Local officials have appealed for help from the Trump administration, which announced a proposal late last month that would allow operators to recover their costs and keep some big coal-fired plants operating. Across the Ohio River in Mason County, Kentucky, officials asked state legislators to consider establishing a “reliable portfolio standard” to ensure that a consistent supply of electricity in the state grid is supplied by coal-fired utilities.

Despite the efforts, DP&L has not changed course on plans to close the plants.”

— Keith Schneider, Midwest Energy News

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