January 19, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Stuart Sanderson
OBAMA AND JEWELL PLAN TO STOP COAL LEASING WILL HARM COLORADO
The Colorado Mining Association (CMA) condemns the recent announcement by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell of a moratorium on federal coal leasing. Stuart Sanderson, CMA President, issued the following statement:
“The announced moratorium represents a rejection of the Department’s and the Interior Secretary’s trust responsibilities to manage federal lands to ensure that the taxpayer receives an appropriate return from mineral development activities for coal extraction. Far from a temporary ‘pause,’ the announcement has longstanding implications for the future of coal mining on the millions of acres of federal lands throughout Colorado and the west. It also sets an exceptionally negative precedent for all activities, including oil and gas,” he added.
CMA also noted that “the administration is already regulating utility carbon emissions through the Clean Power Plan. Thus, it is inappropriate to regulate emissions through leasing.”
“Contrary to the Department’s efforts to minimize its actions, the ban will impact both leasing, mine plans and markets for Colorado coal,” Sanderson said. “Colorado coal producers mined more than 21 million tons of clean, high quality coal in 2015 that is essential to helping utilities meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act. Coal miners also paid federal royalties of nearly $37 million in 2014 (the most recent year for which data is available).” The ban will reduce that royalty stream and the funding that Colorado receives from that stream to support public schools and other important governmental functions. “At a time when Colorado faces funding challenges, choking off the revenue stream from federal coal royalties will only add to the present fiscal crisis,” he concluded.