Currently, a staggering 40% of America’s coal production comes from publicly owned land managed by the federal government. The worst part of the outdated coal leasing program is through loopholes and outdated royalty rates, coal companies are able to mine for coal on public land for pennies on the dollar.
Coal companies are not only destroying publicly owned land, polluting our air and accelerating global climate change, they’re not paying fair market value for the land itself. That’s right, we are literally giving away our publicly owned fossil fuels to mining and drilling companies, disregarding the damage they cause to communities and our climate.
These unfair loopholes directly impact the outdoor sports community, who call these public lands our home. With coal companies dodging their responsibility, we’re losing billions in revenue that would otherwise be invested in our communities.
If that’s not enough, these mines are destroying our public lands and the pollution from this cheap coal is causing health issues and accelerating global climate change.
For example, the massive strip mines on federal lands in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin generate over 60 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions – 13% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, making it a prime contributor to climate disruption.
This antiquated policy is not only propping up a failing industry, it’s also cheating American taxpayers out of more than $1 billion a year in revenues.
Recently, the Obama Administration put a three-year freeze on all new coal leases while they review their impacts, and what can be changed.
This is our opportunity to let them know that this review must end up with a permanent closure of these loopholes and setting fair market values, and coal companies paying for the future environmental and health impacts from the coal emissions, or the “social costs.”
Please join us by signing the letter to Interior Secretary Jewell below.
Join this campaign by taking a minute to send a letter to Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell. Please read and sign the letter below:
Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior
Department of the Interior
1849 C St NW
Washington, DC 20240
Dear Secretary Jewell,
Right now, the outdated federal coal leasing program on public lands is creating an unfair playing field, propping up a declining industry and threatening to release over 60 billion tons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Protect Our Winters and the outdoor sports community are asking that the Department of the Interior put our families, our health, and our economy first by requiring mining companies pay fair market price on leasing federal land. This is the right thing to do, for our wild places, or economy and our planet as we transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
The snow sports industry views climate change as an economic opportunity as well as an environmental issue. Our businesses support $62 billion in tourist-related revenue, 964,000 jobs, and $4.6 billion in annual retail sales. We are united in our desire to reduce carbon emissions and transition to a clean energy future.
The Obama administration has been an ally to the snow sports community, and we applaud the robust actions taken this year from the Clean Power Plan to the Paris agreement. Failure to close this loophole and update this antiquated policy would leave a big gap in the progress made over the last few years.
As a community of nearly 23 million, we thank you for your leadership and are asking that you ensure all coal companies pay the fair market value to extract coal on our public lands, as well as the social cost of that carbon, leveling the playing field for taxpayers and accelerating our transition to a clean energy economy. Thank you for your time and consideration.