Cantwell Supports Administration’s Efforts to Reform the Federal Coal Program In Line with Her Previous Calls to Action

Cantwell Has Urged Aggressive Changes to the Program to Better Account for the Carbon Impacts of Leasing Federal Coal

January 15, 2016
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, applauded the administration’s actions on the federal coal program.

“With 40 percent of coal coming off federal lands, it's extremely important that taxpayers aren’t shortchanged by coal companies who mine on federal lands. For too long, coal companies have gotten away without paying their fair share,” Sen. Cantwell said. “The law says it’s their job at Interior to review royalty rates and leasing policy.”

In February 2015, Sen. Cantwell pressed Secretary Jewell at a budget hearing to conclude Interior’s royalty rulemaking promptly and to begin addressing the broader impacts of coal on climate change. In May, Sen. Cantwell pressed the Department of the Interior to finalize a strong royalty reform rule that closes loopholes for exporting federal coal, echoing public comments from thousands of taxpayers. That summer, Sen. Cantwell wrote Secretary Jewell, urging changes to BLM’s land use planning to account for the carbon impacts of leasing federal coal. And in November 2015, Sen. Cantwell urged administrative action to account for the carbon impacts of burning federal coal.

Last week, President Obama made reference to the actions announced today in his State of the Union address. In response to the president’s address, Sen. Cantwell said: “I am pleased the president noted the need to recalculate the true costs of federal coal and ensure that the American taxpayer gets proper value for this resource. I’ve urged the administration to reform the outdated, unbalanced, coal leasing program.”