May 19, 2024

Administration floats plan to end coal leases in key parts of MT, WY

The Biden administration's concessions to environmentalists continue apace, as indicated by the introduction of two proposals to halt applications for new coal mining rights on key lands.

As The Hill reports, the plans would block new mines from being developed on federal lands in areas of Montana and Wyoming, both critical American coal hubs.

Biden proposals emerge

As the Associated Press explains, the area targeted by the proposed limitations is known as the most productive coal mining region in the entire country.

The idea behind the move is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the burning of coal, just one part of the administration's broader environmental agenda.

According to the Bureau of Land Management's plans, millions of acres of federal lands as well as underground mineral reserves would be impacted, all within the Powder River Basin region of Wyoming and Montana.

The move comes close on the heels of another Biden administration proposal that aims to compel coal-fired power plans to effect significant cuts in pollution outputs or cease operations altogether.

Reactions pour in

A number of Republicans swiftly registered their disapproval of the Biden plan, suggesting that it would do serious damage to the local economies of the affected areas and further hamstring domestic energy production.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso weighed in, saying, “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.”

Barrasso went on, saying, “Cutting off access to our strongest resource surrenders America's greatest economic advantages – to continue producing affordable, abundant, and reliable American energy.”

Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) concurred, saying, “Wyoming has been targeted left and right by rule after rule handed down by this administration.”

“Wyoming coal is needed now more than ever to power our nation and the world,” Lummis added.

Offering a counterpoint was Center for Western Priorities deputy director Aaron Weiss, who said, “America's energy future cannot include coal leasing. We're thankful to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning, and all of the hard-working scientists and land managers who prepared these management plans.”

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