Moratorium on Coal Leasing is Latest Move in Administration’s Beyond Jobs Campaign
National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Hal Quinn today released the following statement in response to the Department of the Interior’s extraordinary action to halt federal coal leasing:
“The Obama administration’s move to shut off the largest source of America’s lowest cost and most reliable fuel for electricity opens up another front in its ‘Beyond Jobs’ campaign. Under the guise of a listening tour last summer, administration officials came, sat, but never listened to the facts that every ton of coal produced from federal lands pays more than its fair share through bonus bids and above-market royalty rates. Instead, they heed the directives of their political benefactors who, to borrow a phrase from the president, are peddling fiction.
“The idea that future coal leasing requires a pause to evaluate environmental impacts defies credulity. Every federal coal lease sale and subsequent mining project must pass multiple levels and sequences of both federal and state evaluation. It is stunning that the administration believes a process that already pushes the development of coal projects beyond a decade needs more red tape and delays.
“Despite the impediments of above-market royalty rates and job-crushing red tape, the coal supply being cut off by today’s action has been the source of the lowest cost and most reliable electricity keeping America’s lights on and people working. Apparently, coal’s resilience poses a threat to the administration’s policies to move America away from affordable, reliable and secure energy.”