Moratorium on Coal Leasing is the next slice in this administration’s ‘death by a thousand cuts’ policies against American coal
Date: January 19, 2016
Washington, DC - The Obama administration’s decision to impose a moratorium on new federal coal leases is one more slice in the administration’s ‘death by a thousand cuts’ policies enacted against coal. The moratorium fits an established pattern of stalling energy development with endless claims of a “need” for one more study, one more review, or one more hearing.
Administration representatives claim a need to address environmental and economic concerns as the driver for this moratorium. However, each federal coal lease is already required to undergo a multitude of both state and federal environmental reviews – a process that can now take over a decade – prior to approval. The economic success of the federal coal program is evident in the nearly $12 billion it has generated for Americans over the past decade. The proceeds are used by federal and state governments to pay for essential services including roads and schools. The administration has indicated plans to change the program to collect higher revenues and direct money back to coal communities to help them train for non-coal jobs. However, such a policy change is more likely to result in lowering the dollars available to return to taxpayers and communities, as it could reduce coal investment and mining on federal lands.
The moratorium in the federal coal leasing program is further evidence that the president’s “All of the Above” energy policy does not include coal. Instead, the administration is proceeding with a “Keep it in the Ground” policy that will be detrimental to all Americans and jeopardize affordable, reliable, and secure energy. The American Coal Council calls on our congressional leaders to oppose this unwarranted pause in the federal coal leasing program.