If we are going to stop catastrophic climate change, we have to start keeping fossil fuels in the ground.
President Obama took an enormous step forward in January when he announced a temporary stop to new coal sales on federal lands,1 and a comprehensive review of our federal coal leasing program which has been, essentially, giving away our publicly owned coal to any company who wanted to dig it up — with no regard for the climate impacts.
The Department of Interior has begun taking public input on that review process.2 This is a crucial opportunity to speak out against one of the most egregious and environmentally destructive federal programs there is.
Tell President Obama and the Department of Interior: Keep our coal in the ground. Permanently stop new coal mining on public lands.
Stopping the federal coal leasing program would be one of President Obama’s single most important achievements to crack down on global warming pollution. But this program review will likely extend into the next administration, so our comments are important as the Department of Interior considers the scope of how comprehensive this review should be.
It has been more than 30 years since any updates were made to the federal coal leasing program. In that time, the urgency of climate change has come into sharp focus. Yet until January, the federal coal leasing program compelled the Department of Interior to undermine our fight against climate change by giving away coal on our lands to coal companies for pennies on the dollar.
A recent Greenpeace report found that nearly 80 percent of the coal mined by the three largest coal companies is publicly owned.3 That is a stunning level of corporate welfare to the very companies who have been using those profits to fund their lobbying efforts against climate action.
It’s time for our federal land use policy to re-align with the public good and our urgent fight against climate change. Our public lands should be preserved or used for clean energy production — not allowed to be pillaged by coal company executives profiting off destroying land, polluting air, and dangerously heating our planet.
It's time to permanently stop new coal mining on public lands. Submit a comment to Tell President Obama and the Department of Interior now.
- "Obama Ends New Coal Leases On Public Lands," ThinkProgress, 1/15/16
- "Feds start public-land coal review process," The Hill, 3/24/16
- "Corporate Welfare for Coal," GreenPeace,