Biden administration to examine climate impacts of federal coal leases


Coal is pictured in a container as people protest BlackRock’s investment in coal and oil sands outside their corporate headquarters in the Manhattan neighborhood of New York City, New York, the United States, May 25, 2021. REUTERS / Carlo Allegri

Aug. 19 (Reuters) – The Biden administration announced Thursday that it will conduct a formal review of coal sales on federal lands to study their impact on climate change and their value to U.S. taxpayers.

In a notice posted on a government website, the United States Bureau of Land Management said it would accept public comment on the coal rental program for 30 days prior to the review.

The move is the latest in the administration’s efforts to tackle climate change by curbing the development of fossil fuels on public lands. The Home Office, which manages federal lands and waters, earlier this year suspended government leasing of oil and gas pending a review of the program.

The review seeks to pick up where a previous analysis that began under the Obama administration left off. This review, which temporarily ended federal leasing of coal, was suspended under former President Donald Trump.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said the review was “in response to long-standing concerns about the federal coal rental program.”

The analysis will assess the program’s impact on the environment, including national greenhouse gas reduction and climate change targets, and whether U.S. taxpayers are getting a fair return from federal coal development.

About 42% of U.S. coal production is on federal land, mostly in Montana and Wyoming, the Home Office said in the notice.

Reporting by Nichola Groom; edited by Diane Craft

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