Recently, Greenpeace Media Officer Joe Smyth has been covering the Bureau of Land Management’s corrupt coal leasing scheme in the Powder River Basin. For decades, BLM has been delivering massive subsidies to coal companies at the expense of the American public. Meanwhile, the Federal government is in the habit of underestimating coal prices and encouraging risky bets for utility companies.
If BLM and the Department of Interior do not put the brakes on the coal leasing process, a tract of taxpayer-owned land containing up to 721 million tons of coal will be given to Peabody this Thursday at an absurdly low, highly subsidized price. Once burned, that coal will produce more carbon pollution than the annual emissions of 230 million cars.
That’s why Greenpeace and 22 other organizations today called on Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to suspend the North Porcupine auction and instead undertake a thorough review of federal coal leasing. And concerned citizens are ready to greet BLM officials in Cheyenne, WY on Thursday if the lease is allowed to proceed.
Coal extractors like Peabody, Arch, and Ambre are planning to radically transform the West by acquiring millions of tons of artificially-cheap coal from publicly-owned lands and exporting it through the Pacific Northwest.
An unprecedented surge in coal exports, with coal stripped from federal lands, will net large profits for coal mining companies and deliver serious health and environmental risks to the public. Under a business-as-usual scenario, new coal leases will not serve the interests of the American people, but rather will subsidize the export of coal and the resulting climate disruption.
BLM and the DOI need to suspend the North Porcupine auction and conduct a thorough review of the federal coal leasing process. See the letter to Secretary Salazar HERE
Greenpeace will continue working with allies across the West to stop new coal export proposals.