Biden’s Coal Policy Is A Blow to America’s Largest Reserves

The Biden administration just dropped some big news – they’re putting the brakes on coal leasing in the Powder River Basin, a move that could impact thousands of Americans. 

Coal Country Unplugged

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If you are unfamiliar with the area, the Powder River Basin is the biggest producer of coal in the whole country.  It’s a huge area in Montana and Wyoming that churns out millions of tons of coal per year, and the most productive mines in the U.S. are located within the area.

From Coal to Clean Energy

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Why is the administration putting an end to new coal leasing? Essentially it’s because the way we get our energy is changing. We’re turning to cleaner and cheaper options more and more, leaving coal in the past.

BLM’s Bold Move

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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) looked into what would happen if they kept letting companies dig up coal in the Powder River Basin and found that it would not be good for our climate, our health, or our environment.

Climate Over Coal

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Instead, the administration came up with a plan: no more new coal leases. Existing mines can keep working with what they already have, but they cannot expand into any more publicly-owned coal reserves.

Activists Cheer for Change

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This move has raised significant support from environmental activists.

WildEarth Guardians Celebrate

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Kelly Fuller, climate and energy program director at WildEarth Guardians, came out in support of this decision, saying, “Our country must leave coal in the past to build a future with a livable climate for everyone. It’s heartening to see the Bureau of Land Management has recognized the need to move beyond coal.”

Rancher’s Relief

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Mark Fix, a rancher from Miles City, Montana, and a member of the Northern Plains Resource Council, also agreed with the decision. He said, “The BLM released a common-sense plan that reflects today’s coal markets. Coal companies in this region already have decades of coal locked up in leases, and it’s hard to imagine they’ll find buyers that far into the future given the competition from more affordable energy sources.”

Senator’s Stand Against Plan

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Not everyone is happy about the administration’s decision. Republican Senator for Wyoming John Barrasso has come out against the plans, warning that “This will kill jobs and could cost Wyoming hundreds of millions of dollars used to pay for public schools, roads, and other essential services in our communities.”

No Layoffs, Just Limits

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According to experts, this move shouldn’t cause any layoffs, as existing mines can continue operating as they have been doing for years.

Legal Battles

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But this decision didn’t come out of nowhere. Back in 2022, a number of conservation groups took the BLM to court over their plans for this area.

Big Wins

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They argued that letting coal, oil, and gas companies run wild in the Powder River Basin was a bad move for the nation’s health and the environment. And the judge agreed.

BLM in the Hot Seat

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The judge found that the BLM didn’t follow the rules when it came to looking at the impacts of burning coal from public lands.

Courtroom Drama

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The judge also found that the BLM hadn’t looked at any other options besides more coal leasing – a flagrant violation of the National Environmental Policy Act.

Coal’s Carbon Footprint

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Here’s why this matters: the Powder River Basin is a big source of pollution. It churns out a massive 43% of all the coal in the U.S. Most of the coal mined there gets burned to make electricity, and it’s one of the biggest contributors to carbon dioxide pollution in the country.

Coal’s Competitors

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But coal isn’t as popular as it used to be anymore. Winters are getting warmer, and other energy sources are cheaper and cleaner.

Climate Consciousness Rising

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On top of that, there’s been a growing awareness of climate consciousness among Americans of all generations, who are slowly making the transition to green energy wherever possible.

The Decline of Coal

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Less coal is being mined in the Powder River basin now than there was in 2008, and that trend is expected to continue.

Reacting To The Industry

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The BLM’s decision to stop future coal leasing comes after several coal company bankruptcies and coal mine closures.

Bankruptcies and Closures

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Currently, there are only a few coal lease applications pending in the region, and all of these have been delayed for years at the companies’ requests.

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The post Biden’s Coal Policy Is A Blow to America’s Largest Reserves first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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