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Western Public Lands

BLM seeks comments on fair return for publicly owned coal

The public has until Sept. 17 to send comments to the BLM on proposed changes to the federal coal program. Image: Judith Kohler

The Interior Department said it wanted to hear from the public about the best ways to ensure that the public get a fair return on publicly owned coal and the public turned out to have its say. Hundreds of people seeking a fair share for the public spoke at meetings in Washington and throughout the Rocky Mountain West.

The Bureau of Land Management is taking comments on proposed updates of the federal coal program until Sept. 17 at blm_wo_coal_comments@blm.gov

The public forums followed a call by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s call to “modernize the federal coal program,” including possible increases in royalty rates and changes to the bidding program.

"I think most Americans would be surprised to know that coal companies can make a winning bid for about a dollar a ton to mine taxpayer-owned coal," Jewell said earlier this year.

The Government Accountability office has suggested reforms to the federal coal program.

“As the Interior Department considers changes to the federal coal program, sportsmen hope it keeps in mind the impacts on the lands where we hunt, fish and recreate. Mining takes place in some of the West’s most important fish and wildlife habitat, including sagebrush steppe that’s home to a species in serious decline – the greater sage grouse. Federal coal royalties should be structured to ensure a fair return to the public and provide funding to properly restore our Western landscapes." ~ Aaron Kindle, the National Wildlife Federation's Western sportsmen's campaign manager.

 

 

Date: 
Sunday, August 30, 2015