Wednesday, May 04, 2016

BLM hosting meetings in May and June to hear from public about federal coal leasing

The Bureau of Land Management will host a series of public meetings in May and June to gather input on federal coal leasing. A BLM release states: "In January, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced a comprehensive review that will examine a broad array of concerns about the federal coal program following critical reports issued by the Government Accountability Office and Interior’s Office of the Inspector General; concerns raised by members of Congress and other interested stakeholders; and feedback received from a series of public listening sessions last year in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Washington, D.C."

BLM says it is particularly interested in gathering public input on the issues and policies that should be outlined in the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for coal mines on federal property, "including topics such as whether Americans are receiving a fair return for federal coal, how market conditions affect coal, how federal coal affects the environment, and how these and other factors impact coal-dependent communities," says the release. BLM Director Neil Kornze said in a statement: "As we begin this review, we are looking forward to hearing from the public about a wide range of issues about the federal coal program,. The information we gather will help shape future decisions about this public resource."

The first public meeting will be May 17 in Casper, Wyo. Other meetings are: May 19, Salt Lake City; May 26, Knoxville, Tenn.; June 16, Pittsburgh; June 23, Grand Junction, Colo.; and a meeting will be held in Seattle at a date yet to be determined. The meetings in Casper, Seattle and Pittsburgh will be live-streamed. All six meetings will be available by audiocast. For more information click here.

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