Thursday, March 30, 2017

Interior to restart coal leasing, ending Obama ban

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed an order Wednesday to restart coal leasing in the U.S. in response to President Trump's executive order this week "tasking him with taking 'all steps necessary and appropriate' to end the three-year ban on new coal leasing imposed by President Obama in January 2016," Dylan Brown reports for Greenwire.

Zinke "also declared that an Obama-ordered review of the federal coal program is dead," Brown writes. "But Zinke will re-establish a federal advisory committee made up of states, tribes and other advocacy groups to study whether Americans are getting a fair return on coal as well as oil and natural gas."

Zinke also scrapped the department's programmatic environmental impact statement studying the federal coal program, Brown writes. The document, which was released a few days before Trump's inauguration and was panned by industry and welcomed by environmentalists, "said royalty rates should be raised to generate more revenue and mitigate coal's climate impacts." Zinke called the report "costly and unnecessary." He also said a decision hasn't been made about whether royalties need to be raised." (Read more)

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