North Antelope Rochelle coal trains

KIMON BERLIN

Stop the federal coal giveaway!

Did you know that publicly owned coal accounts for about 40% of coal mined each year in the US?
 
Yet, for decades, the Department of Interior has chronically undervalued our public coal, selling it for peanuts to the coal companies, which has resulted in billions of dollars in lost revenue to state and federal governments. The Department also doesn’t account for the huge amounts of carbon pollution that is released when this coal is burned, despite the Administration’s commitment to act on climate.

​This cheap coal has been one of the biggest drivers behind the coal export market and the push for more coal trains, tankers and coal terminals in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia.
 
Tell Secretary Sally Jewell to close loopholes, increase royalties, do a better job of setting fair market value, and account for global warming pollution resulting from leasing of federal coal.

Background. 

Recent investigations show that the Department of Interior leases coal to private coal companies for pennies on the dollar and lets the companies sell coal to themselves at artificially low prices to avoid higher royalty payments owed to taxpayers. This 'insider-trading' scheme results in an even lower return of money to the American public, who owns this resource.
 
With cheap coal to sell and a declining market in the US, coal companies are gunning to ship strip-mined coal through our communities in the Northwest to Asian markets. 
 
The Obama administration is considering reforming the management of coal lease sales, closing loopholes and raising royalty rates. ​
 
But before they can act, officials need to hear that the public wants to stop subsidizing fossil fuels and coal exports!
 
Export subsidies.
 
Taxpayers have lost as much as $28 billion due to bad management of the public’s coal according to a report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.  The undervaluation of federal coal, done to promote domestic energy security, has resulted in pressure to export coal at a rate that is publicly subsidized, to benefit foreign economic competitors.
 
Federal coal is a leading threat to climate change.
 
The federal coal leasing program will play a critical role in the Department of Interior’s commitment to fighting climate change. With at least 15 billion tons of carbon pollution possible from the leasing, mining, and burning of federally-owned coal in the next two decades, the Department’s coal leasing program stands in direct opposition to the Administration’s climate initiatives. Aside from these global impacts, federal coal leasing and mining continues to impact land, air, water, and wildlife throughout the American West. It’s time for the Department of Interior to start accounting for its contribution to climate change and environmental and community impacts and more importantly to start addressing them in its federal coal program.
Joëlle Robinson's picture

Field Director

, Climate Solutions

Joëlle engages citizens and diverse constituencies—faith, health, veteran, youth, parents, sportsmen, business—to make their voices heard for climate solutions. She led local field work collaboration with our partners toward passing a federal climate bill, and is currently working to ensure we stop any coal export from the U.S. West Coast.

Joëlle was the Regional Outreach Coordinator of National Wildlife Federation where she focused on mobilizing hunters, anglers and concerned citizens around solutions to global warming. Previous work with Climate Solutions includes the NW Climate Connections partnership, serving as the Field Assistant for the successful Clean Cars campaign, and Field Director of the Renewable Fuel Standard, which passed in April 2006.

She is a board member of Earth Ministry and on the Advisory Board for the Seattle Area Happiness Initiative. She previously served on the Solar Washington board and Sierra Club Executive Committee.

Joëlle is a Northwest native who loves to hike, bike, dance, paraglide, and travel. Her favorite quote is “Hope is borne of participating in hopeful solutions.” — Marianne Williamson.