Quantcast

Report Confirms Coal Companies Receive Massive U.S. Taxpayer Subsidies for Mining on Public Lands

Sierra Club

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Yesterday, the Department of Interior’s (DOI) Office of the Inspector General released a report confirming U.S. coal companies receive massive subsidies from U.S. taxpayers for mining leases on public lands. The Inspector General’s findings come on the heels of the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis 2012 report which revealed that the current Bureau of Land Management (BLM) leasing program cuts U.S. taxpayers out of billions of dollars in revenue.

Yesterday's Inspector General report faults the BLM for failing to take into account potential profits for coal export and for failing to follow an Interior Secretary Order intended to ensure unbiased evaluations of the fair market value for federal coal. 

The report explains, “Since even a 1-cent-per-ton undervaluation in the fair market value calculation for a sale can result in millions of dollars in lost revenues, correcting the identified weaknesses could produce significant returns to the government.”


Bill Corcoran, deputy director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign issued the following statement in response:

We are heartened by the DOI Inspector General’s thorough evaluation of the seriously flawed practices of the Bureau of Land Management’s coal leasing program. This report is the first step in giving Interior Secretary Sally Jewell the tools needed to facilitate a long overdue revamping of the BLM’s public leasing program.

The BLM has been operating outside of Secretarial orders for years, opening the floodgates for the fleecing of U.S. taxpayers by coal corporations to the tune of $30 billion of lost revenue. It’s a testament to how flawed the program truly is when 80 percent of coal leases granted by the BLM are done without a single other competitive bid, and companies like Peabody Energy consistently receive coal leases as low $1.10 per ton.

At a time when American families are still being asked to make difficult economic sacrifices, they are counting on our federal leaders to protect them from being short-changed by those who profit from skirting the law. Now, as we await the release of the Department of Interior’s investigation into coal royalties, we renew our call for a moratorium of all coal leasing on public lands. These federal agencies must get their houses in order to prevent predatory coal companies from further taking advantage of U.S. taxpayers and damaging our economy.

Visit EcoWatch’s COAL page for more related news on this topic.

——–

Click here to tell Congress to Expedite Renewable Energy

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a press statement on the European Green Deal at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on Dec. 11, 2019. Xinhua / Zheng Huansong via Getty Images

The European Commission introduced a plan to overhaul the bloc's economy to more sustainable, climate-conscious policies and infrastructure, with the goal of being carbon-neutral by 2050, according to CNBC.

Read More Show Less
Young activists shout slogans on stage after Greta Thunberg (not in the picture) took part in the plenary session during the COP25 Climate Conference on Dec. 11 in Madrid, Spain. Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Young activists took over and occupied the main stage at the COP25 climate conference in Madrid, Spain Wednesday and demanded world leaders commit to far more ambitious action to address the ecological emergency.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A NASA image showing the ozone hole at its maximum extent for 2015. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

The Montreal Protocol, a 1987 international treaty prohibiting the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to save the ozone layer, was the first successful multilateral agreement to successfully slow the rate of global warming, according to new research. Now, experts argue that similar measures may lend hope to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Example of starlings murmuration pictured in Scotland. Tanya Hart / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Police in Wales are in the midst of an unusual investigation: the sudden death of more than 200 starlings.

Read More Show Less
Donald Trump Jr. killed an argali sheep like this one on a hunting trip in Mongolia. powerofforever/ iStock / Getty Images Plus

During a hunting trip in Mongolia this August, Donald Trump Jr. shot and killed an endangered argali sheep, and received a permit only after the fact.

Read More Show Less