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BLM’s Conservation Groups Blast Plan To Restart Public Lands Coal Leasing

Coal News - Published on Mon, 17 Jun 2019

Image Source: World Coal Association
Fifty conservation groups sent a letter calling on the Trump administration to restore a 2016 moratorium on new federal coal leasing and plan an orderly and just transition away from coal production on public lands. In a separate analysis also submitted to the Bureau of Land Management, many of those same groups condemned the administration’s effort to justify reopening public lands to new coal leasing, citing a litany of factual errors and the BLM’s refusal to evaluate climate impacts. The BLM’s rushed plan, prepared in under five weeks, responds to an April court order overturning its illegal nixing of a nationwide coal-leasing moratorium. Mr Michael Saul, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said that “This reckless, shoddy analysis ignores science and shrugs off the massive threat that coal leasing poses to humanity. Climate scientists are calling for rapid progress on pollution cuts, but the Trump administration continues to move dangerously in the opposite direction.”

Connie Wilbert, director of the Sierra Club’s Wyoming chapter, said that "Climate disruption is showing up in communities across the country right now, from devastating flooding in the Midwest to increasing drought and wildfire in the Mountain West. The very least that the public deserves is accurate information on how much coal leasing on land owned by the taxpayer is contributing to this crisis. We can’t keep our heads in the sand any longer.”

BLM’s analysis of climate impacts miscounts the tonnage of recent coal leases in a variety of ways and minimizes the amount of greenhouse gas pollution from fossil-fuel-based US electricity generation in 2017. The volume of pollution from those coal leases represents as much as 290 percent of annual pollution from U.S. electricity generation, 100 times larger than the 2.9 percent that BLM claimed. BLM uses the incorrect, smaller figure to support its conclusion that the climate impacts of pausing federal coal leases are “negligible.”

Mr Jeremy Nichols, climate and energy director with WildEarth Guardians, said htat “We can't keep mining our coal and have any chance of confronting the climate crisis. While the coal industry and its cronies in the Trump Administration may deny this fact, it doesn't change the reality that we need a moratorium on new federal coal leases and we need to start keeping our fossil fuels in the ground.”

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Posted By : Sanju Moirangthem on Mon, 17 Jun 2019
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