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WASHINGTON DC (KDKA) — President Donald Trump is directing the Department of Energy to help bolster struggling coal and nuclear plants, among other things.

United States Energy Secretary Rick Perry told KDKA Legal Editor Julie Grant, “There is no resource that can have a more positive impact on America than our energy sector.”

The Trump administration has said it is striving for energy dominance and energy independence.

“We’re now shipping to almost 30 different continents American Liquefied Natural Gas,” said Perry.

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His administration says President Trump is implementing an “all of the above” energy strategy.

“We’ve re-lit the pilot light on American Energy,” said Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

In discussing the president’s approach, Perry said, “He wants to make sure that government is not in the way. That government is not over-regulating.”

With less regulations and increased production, Perry and Zinke say they believe America has the ability to become energy independent.

“Today, we’re producing 10.7 million barrels a day. First time in 60 years we’re exporting natural gas,” said Zinke.

KDKA’s Julie Grant Reports:


 

The secretaries say they recognize the Marcellus Shale as one of our country’s most valuable regions for natural gas production.

“The potential for economic growth in that region is extraordinary,” said Perry.

While natural gas is the leading source of electricity, the future of coal is uncertain. Some are skeptical about plants ever reopening.

“They didn’t get shut down overnight. It was a long process. They’re not going to reopen overnight, but this president is committed to it,” said Perry.

President Trump has been calling for the Department of Energy to help bolster struggling nuclear power plants. Perry was noncommittal about whether first energy’s bailout request will be granted after its bankruptcy filing.

“I think the president’s idea of where we’re headed is a national strategy to deal with the national grid. A specific company with a specific challenge – this is not going to be addressing that,” said Perry.

Pennsylvania already has an impact fee in place for natural gas producers. Gov. Tom Wolf has long promised to impose a severance tax. When asked asked if he thinks that’s a good idea, Perry said when he was the governor of Texas he learned that if you over-tax, over-litigate, and over-regulate people will leave your state.