By January 15, 2016 Read More →

Obama administration halts new US coal leases

US coal leases on federal lands under review

US coal leases

The review will examine if US coal leases provide a fair return to American taxpayers.  AP photo.

WASHINGTON _ The Obama administration says it’s halting new US coal leases on federal lands until it completes a comprehensive review. The question is whether fees charged to mining companies provide a fair return to American taxpayers and reflect coal’s impact on the environment.

In response to the review, National Mining Association President and CEO Hal Quinn said “every ton of coal produced from federal lands pays more than its fair share through bonus bids and above-market royalty rates”.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Friday that companies will continue to be able to mine coal reserves already under lease.

Under the review policy, at least 30 applications from companies seeking to mine hundreds of millions of tons of coal face suspension as the government reviews sales of the fuel from public lands, government officials disclosed Friday.

“Even as our nation transitions to cleaner energy sources, building on smart policies and progress already underway, we know that coal will continue to be an important domestic energy source in the years ahead,” said Secretary Jewell.

Jewell says the coal leasing program has not been significantly changed in more than 30 years. She says it needs to be modernized to ensure a fair return to American taxpayers and to account for climate change.

Roughly 40 per cent of the coal produced in the United States comes from federal lands. The vast majority comes from Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico.


The Canadian Press

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