U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell was informed today that the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) board of directors has decided to keep the Paradise Fossil Plant in Drakesboro, Kentucky, open. Senator McConnell was told that one of the three units at the facility will continue burning coal, while the other units will be converted to natural gas. On behalf of Kentucky coal miners and their families, Senator McConnell first raised the issue with TVA President Bill Johnson during an October 23, 2013 meeting in his office.
"It's unnecessary and tragic that the Obama administration's actions have forced utilities to discontinue coal operations at any of these units," Senator McConnell said. "I fought hard to prevent these changes and fortunately one of the units will continue to burn coal, saving hundreds of jobs. I'll continue to fight wherever the administration's anti-coal agenda threatens the livelihood of Kentuckians and I'll fight to get the lost jobs back."
During their October meeting, Senator McConnell urged President Johnson to maintain its current operations at Paradise and expressed concerns that a potential closure would negatively impact the Muhlenberg County community. President Johnson responded that many factors have contributed to the TVA's decision to review the future of the Paradise facility, citing one reason as the current regulatory environment, but President Johnson told Senator McConnell that he would take his concerns into account while making any decisions with regards to the Paradise plant.
Following their meeting, Senator McConnell sent a letter to President Johnson reiterating his concerns and calling on TVA to keep the facility open. Joining Senator McConnell on the letter were Senator Rand Paul, Congressman Ed Whitfield, Congressman Hal Rogers, Congressman Brett Guthrie, Congressman Andy Barr and Congressman Thomas Massie. In contacting TVA, the members reminded TVA of the importance of maintaining an all-inclusive energy portfolio that protects Kentucky coal, coal utilization and those whose livelihoods depend on it.