Federal government is moving forward with review of coal industry

(Wyoming) In January the U.S. Department of the Interior announced it would be conducting an environmental impact statement to review the federal coal program. Now they've stated the next step in that plan, asking the public for their input. The Bureau of Land Management stated that the review is to make sure the coal industry is "properly structured to provide a fair return to taxpayers and reflect its impacts on the environment, while continuing to help meet the nation’s energy needs." Today’s announcement builds upon President Obama’s call in his State of the Union address to improve the way we manage our fossil fuel resources and move the country towards a clean energy economy. “We have an obligation to all Americans, as well as future generations, to ensure coal resources we manage are administered in a responsible way,” said Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze. “As we undertake this review, we look forward to hearing from the public on a wide range of issues, including how, when and where to lease federal coal, how to account for the environmental and public health impacts of federal coal production and how to ensure that American taxpayers earn a fair return for the use of their public resources, including whether current royalty rates should be adjusted.” As part of the study, a series of six public meetings will be held to solicit input to inform the scope of the review. The meetings are currently planned to be held in May and June. Casper is the Wyoming city selected as part of the sessions. Grand Junction, Colorado; Knoxville, Tennessee; Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, and Seattle are the other stops. Final information on dates, times and locations of the meetings will be announced soon. “Coal will continue to be an important domestic energy source in the years ahead and we are undertaking this effort with full consideration of the importance of maintaining reliable and affordable energy for American families and businesses. But we haven’t undertaken a comprehensive evaluation of the federal coal program in more than 30 years. It’s time for a top to bottom review,” said Kornze. Listening sessions were conducted last year in Gillette and four other states in order to determine whether or not a formal review was needed. The Interior Department will release an interim report by the end of 2016 with a summary of comments received from the public. The full review is expected to take approximately three years. #county17 #news #oilcity #dally