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.
The hallmark of any successful policy is continuous evaluation and, if necessary, reform. The federal coal leasing program has not gone through a programmatic review in more than 30 years, and we applaud the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for pausing federal coal leases and taking this necessary step to ensure our public lands are managed appropriately.
As the next step in the Department of the Interior’s comprehensive review of the federal coal program, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced the dates and locations for a series of public meetings in May and June to solicit public input.