Stop stealing from me and ruining my homeland!
Coal companies that mine on federal lands have been exploiting loopholes that serve to make their coal inexpensive for years, a practice which is impacting the economy of Appalachia and should be stopped, according to a new report.
The report, published Monday by the Center for American Progress, states that decades-old flaws in the federal government’s program for leasing coal on public lands are giving coal companies that mine in Western states an unfair advantage over companies that mine in Appalachia. That’s because 40 percent of U.S. coal is mined from federal lands, and much of that land is out West — nearly all the coal that comes from Wyoming and Montana’s Powder River Basin is mined on federal lands, while only about one-tenth of 1 percent of Appalachian coal is mined from federal lands.
Right now, the minimum royalty rate for coal mined on federal lands is 12.5 percent — a rate that’s lower than the royalty rate collected for offshore oil and gas leases and one that’s same as it was in 1976. In addition, the report states, coal companies have been able to manipulate the system to pay the royalty on a decreased coal price.
You don’t have to believe Center for American Progress. The Government Accountability Office of our own US Federal government reported the same thing about a year ago. Apparently nothing has changed. See previous post here.