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.
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!
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.