The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Report Finds Vast Imbalance between Use of Coal and Renewables on Public Lands
This week the Department of the Interior will lease 721 million tons of coal in the North Porcupine tract in Wyoming, and according to an analysis released today by the Center for American Progress, Using Public Lands for the Public Good: Rebalancing Coal and Renewable Electricity with a Clean Resources Standard, there is a vast imbalance between the use of coal and renewable energy on our public lands. The new report finds that coal is used to generate 66 percent of the electricity produced from publicly owned resources, as compared to only 1 percent from renewable energy (solar, wind and geothermal), and offers a bold solution to this problem: a “clean resources standard.”
The “clean resources standard,” or CRS, introduced by authors Jessica Goad, Christy Goldfuss and Tom Kenworthy, would help set the U.S. on a path to a clean energy future by requiring 35 percent of resources coming from public lands used for electricity to be renewable by 2035. To tap into the huge potential that exists to responsibly develop publicly owned renewable resources, the CRS, which could be implemented by executive order, would require land management agencies to delineate what portion of publicly owned natural resources used for electricity generation will be clean and renewable—from wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and small hydroelectricity.
The analysis shows that coal is the de facto priority for the use of the federal estate when it comes to power generation. This is a stunningly antiquated and out-of-balance view of our nation’s electricity needs because the scale is tipped in favor of a dirty electricity resource that has been shown to have serious health and environmental impacts. It also neglects the opportunity that federal lands and waters provide to reflect a vision for a clean energy future. And worse, given the current policy projections, 20 years out shows no change in the imbalance between coal and renewable electricity generated by public resources.
The clean resources standard would apply to lands and waters owned by the American taxpayer that should be used for the public good, not for electricity generation tilted so heavily in favor of coal, which has significant environmental, health and economic costs.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Fino Menezes
Everyone adores dolphins. Intelligent, inquisitive and playful, these special creatures have captivated humans since the dawn of time. But dolphins didn't get to where they are by accident — they needed to develop some pretty amazing superpowers to cope with their environment.
By Charli Shield
At unsettling times like the coronavirus outbreak, it might feel like things are very much out of your control. Most routines have been thrown into disarray and the future, as far as the experts tell us, is far from certain.
By Elizabeth Henderson
Farmworkers, farmers and their organizations around the country have been singing the same tune for years on the urgent need for immigration reform. That harmony turns to discord as soon as you get down to details on how to get it done, what to include and what compromises you are willing to make. Case in point: the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 5038), which passed in the House of Representatives on Dec. 11, 2019, by a vote of 260-165. The Senate received the bill the next day and referred it to the Committee on the Judiciary, where it remains. Two hundred and fifty agriculture and labor groups signed on to the United Farm Workers' (UFW) call for support for H.R. 5038. UFW President Arturo Rodriguez rejoiced: