House committee restricts review of federal coal leasing
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Natural Resources Committee today approved a bill from Representative Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) that would set a time limit for the administration to finish its programmatic environmental review of the federal coal leasing program. In January, the Department of the Interior announced plans to conduct a programmatic environmental impact analysis of the federal coal leasing program. Coal mined from federally managed lands is 40% of all coal produced in the U.S. and is responsible for 14% of domestic carbon emissions. It has been 35 years since the agency comprehensively studied the environmental impact of the federal coal leasing program.
Friends of the Earth Climate Campaigner Marissa Knodel issued the following response:
A comprehensive environmental review of the federal coal leasing program is long overdue, and Rep. Zinke’s bill is a shameful attempt to thwart that process. Coal combustion for electricity is the largest single contributor to climate disruption in the U.S., yet the federal government fails to consider this fact when it sells publicly-owned coal to private companies at bargain basement prices.
Putting a time limit on this critical review process will only benefit coal companies by allowing them to continue to poison our air and water, destroy public lands, cheat taxpayers, and exacerbate climate change. The Department of the Interior must be given the time necessary to comprehensively evaluate the climate impacts of the federal coal program.