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As Trump Presidency Looms, Department of Interior Calls to Modernize Coal Program on Federal Land
After years of studying a system that environmental groups and government watchdogs have called broken, "…the Department of the Interior finalized a report Wednesday calling for major changes to the federal coal program by which the U.S. manages the leasing of land to companies for exploration and production across 570 million publicly owned acres," report Juliet Eilperin and Chris Mooney in The New York Times.
While coal extraction goes on in the United States, "A year ago, new leases were placed on hold pending this report," according to Eilperin and Mooney. The hold put a hard cap on what coal mines could do while the Department of the Interior looked for reforms for the industry. "Those reforms would include charging a higher royalty rate to companies, factoring in the climate impact of the coal being burned through an additional charge to firms and setting an overall carbon budget for the nation’s coal leasing permits," Eilperin and Mooney write. Trump meanwhile has pledged to increase coal extraction. He's likely to have support from the Republican congressional majority. "Montana Senator, Steve Daines, in a press release…termed the new Interior report 'laughable,'" according to the article. Still, while the Trump Administration may resist these reforms, plans to revive the coal industry might also face strong market headwinds.