Energy Development: Coal

Why We Need Coal Reform

The need for federal coal leasing reform is well documented. Current flaws in the leasing program include:

  • Effective royalty rates far below market value.
  • Billions of dollars in lost royalty payments due to corporate self-dealing and subsidy manipulation.
  • A lack of competitive bidding and Insufficient reclamation bonding that increasingly leaves cleanup costs to taxpayers.
  • A failure to account for environmental impacts, including climate consequences.

Over the last 45 years, the federal coal program has undergone two federal coal-leasing pauses: one from 1973-1981 and one from 1984-1989. These were done because of significant findings of wrongdoing and mismanagement. In order to correct these issues, the federal government determined that a pause had to be instituted until reforms could be implemented and coal leases carried out in a environmentally responsible manner with a fair return to taxpayer assured.

Our Suggestions for Reform

The federal government should reform its leasing program to better determine:

  • When, where and how leasing occurs.
  • How to account the environmental and public health impacts.
  • Policies to ensure that the American people are fairly compensated for the sale of their public resources.

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