Push to Export Coal from Federal Lands Drives Immediate Need for Audit
April 26, 2012
Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the Ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conduct its first review of the government’s coal leasing program since 1994.
Rep. Markey’s request comes as U.S. coal companies lay the groundwork to ship hundreds of millions of tons of coal mined from federal lands overseas at premium prices, all while getting bargain coal lease prices from the U.S. government. Rep. Markey sent a letter to the GAO asking for a full review of how the federal government is leasing land for mining coal in the Powder River Basin, which includes Montana and Wyoming. Sierra Club will continue to call into question the obsolete leasing practices of the federal government, and their unknown risks and costs to U.S. consumers as Big Coal attempts to build infrastructure to ship US coal to foreign markets.
Bill Corcoran, Western Regional Director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign issued this statement:
"The Sierra Club applauds Rep. Ed Markey for requesting that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit the Bureau of Land Management's leasing of coal in the Powder River Basin. After operating without any independent oversight for nearly a generation, the federal government's coal leasing program is in desperate need of review and reform. Federal leases have allowed international coal companies to tie up billions of tons of American coal in the hopes of shipping it overseas, and with unknown consequences for American families. Rep. Markey's request to the GAO should shine a light on these outdated leasing practices that threaten the health, environment, and economic well-being of communities across the country."
Details and Documents:
Sierra Club Statement on US Representative Ed Markey's Audit Request to Government Accountability Office (GAO) for Coal Leasing Program
April 24, 2012, Sierra Club Press Release