The coal industry is about to exploit a huge loophole - unless we act now.
The government is selling additional leases to coal companies that want to expand their mines in the Powder River Basin. 40 percent of all coal mined in the US comes from this area of the country.
Despite the fact that more coal comes from the Powder River Basin than anywhere else in the nation, the government doesn’t consider this a "coal production region." This means that the leases can be approved without weighing the full environmental impacts of expanded mining!
Coal-burning power plants are the nation’s number one contributor to global warming, and their dangerous air pollutants kill thousands of people every year, costing society billions of dollars.
Yet, the Department of the Interior, led by Secretary Ken Salazar, wants to give the coal industry a free pass in the Powder River Basin.
This huge loophole will allow a massive expansion of the nation’s largest coal mining region without weighing the full cost to our air, water, health, and climate.
Please urge Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to cancel these upcoming sales and to strengthen environmental protections.
It is outrageous that taxpayers are subsidizing the production of coal, a fuel that is destroying our climate, harming public health, and costing society billions in health impacts. More than 40 percent of the coal mined in the United States comes from the Powder River Basin, so it only makes sense to designate it as a "coal production region."
This designation would help protect taxpayers by increasing the likelihood that coal companies actually compete for the leases to the land. It would also allow your agency to limit total leasing based in part on cumulative environmental impacts of the leases, including their impact on our climate.