Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Showdown over federal coal leasing reform at Casper hearing

Emotions ran high in a showdown Tuesday between environmentalists and the mining industry over coal-leasing reform and whether the federal government should increase how much it charges corporations to mine federal reserves. On one side, landowner advocates and environmentalists told a U.S. Bureau of Land Management public hearing that change is overdue — up to and including halting coal mining to limit climate change. Others in this coal-friendly city rejected any change to the leases amid a three-year federal leasing moratorium Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced in January that has added uncertainty amid coal bankruptcies, layoffs and mine closures. No justification exists for higher federal royalties, Cloud Peak Energy Vice President Richard Reavey said at a pro-coal rally held by the Wyoming Mining Association before the hearing. “Here we are at another one of the secretary’s Soviet-style show trials, where the verdict has already has been decided and the sentence already issued. The verdict is that coal will be found to have been guilty of delivering reliable, affordable electricity. Guilty of providing well-paying jobs in flyover states that don’t support the Obama regime. Guilty of trying to make the American economy stronger,” Reavey said. “And the sentence? The sentence is keep it in the ground,” he said...more

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