Tell the US to Stop Leasing Mining Rights to Private Companies

  • by: Susan V
  • target: US Bureau of Land Management

The US Government leases rights to private companies to mine on federal property. And the fees these companies pay are only a fraction of the cost to the environment.

Greenpeace found that for every ton of coal produced on government land, an estimated $22 to $237 in environmental damage results. Meanwhile, That is, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has, in effect, sold the coal for just over one dollar a ton!

By selling dirty coal at subsidized rates, this federal coal leasing program is not only undermining efforts to reduce CO2 emissions in the US, but also globally, because some of this cheap coal is being sold to countries with more relaxed restrictions. In fact the BLM was just considering a lease in Colorado before Greenpeace released its report. The expected 8 million tons of coal from that mine would most likely end up being burned in other countries.

Environmental groups are calling for a moratorium on new leases until comprehensive reform of the program is accomplished. But it makes more sense for the government to stop leasing mining rights to private companies altogether and instead focus on renewable energy.

Tell the BLM to stop leasing mining rights to private companies!

We, the undersigned, are opposed to this federal coal leasing program that some are calling downright corrupt.

ThinkProgress reported in 2012 on a federal deal where 721 billion tons of taxpayer-owned coal was being auctioned off in a way that profited Peabody - a company that was allowed to draw up its own lease for its own profit without any competition.

This scheme is called a “lease by application,“ explained the report, and under BLM’s corrupt coal leasing program, Peabody will almost certainly be the only bidder and pay next to nothing.” It was noted by other sources that in the previous 20 years, only 3 out of 21 of these applications has multiple bidders. Because these companies can be reasonably certain they’ll have no competition they can offer the minimum amount that BLM will accept.

Companies like Peabody then go on to rape US lands, environment and public health with destructive strip-mining and then sell the coal to lucrative Asian markets. TP accuses BLM of “deliberately,” encouraging “this uncompetitive process,” when it is supposed to be managing taxpayer-owned coal “in the best interests of the Nation.”

“The Bureau of Land Management’s corrupt coal leasing program is fueling climate change with billions of tons of carbon pollution, and it’s been a rip off for U.S. taxpayers for decades,” adds TP.

Environmental groups have tried to sue the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management over these dirty leases, but the corruption continues.

We join Greenpeace and other environmental groups now demanding a halt on these leases, at least until meaningful reform is accomplished. We, however, prefer these leases be banned altogether.

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