Trump Admin Lifts Obama 11th-Hour Moratorium on Coal Mining on Fed Lands

(Emily Larsen, Liberty Headlines) President Trump and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke have signed several executive orders to free up access to coal on federal lands, reversing orders from the previous administration.

coal mining photo

Photo by mypubliclands (CC)

Republican politicians and free-market think tank scholars have applauded the moves, but industry executives say the deregulation won’t spur immediate changes in coal production or profits.

Former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell imposed a moratorium on leasing any additional federal lands for coal mining and production, just days before President Trump took office.

In addition to reversing the moratorium, the executive orders confirm the removal of regulations on hydraulic fracking from the Bureau of Land Management, and direct BLM, the National Park Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct reviews on oil and gas regulations and climate change policies.

Western Congressional Caucus members in the House applauded moves by President Trump and the administration to roll back regulations that stifle coal production on public lands.

“Around 40 percent of coal production occurs on public lands,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) in a press release. “We don’t need stifling restrictions—we need more responsible and efficient coal production to help get people back to work and our economy back on track.”

Restrictions on coal mining aren’t the only thing standing in the way of prosperity for coal miners and energy companies. Many companies don’t believe this wave of deregulation is enough to consider changing the types of energy production in which to invest resources and infrastructure.

“At the end of the day, coal will still have to compete with a host of other fuels,” Rick Curtsinger, a spokesman for Cloud Peak Energy, told CNBC. “Utilities’ long-term decisions are based on economics and the need for long-term certainty.”

Nicholas K. Akins, chief executive of American Electric Power, said his company doesn’t plan to change course due to the Trump administration’s executive orders.

“Our plans remain the same,” he told CNBC. “We’re going to invest over the next three years $1.5 billion in renewables, $9 billion in transmission to optimize the grid. This industry is moving in a direction that really moves toward a clean energy economy. That’s what our customers expect; That’s what our shareholders expect.”

A Reuters analysis found that these executive orders might not even have a great effect on companies that focus on mining coal on federal lands. Those companies have enough coal on existing leases to last for 17 years with 2015 sales levels.

The Reuters analysis also noted that coal accounts for about a third of U.S. electricity production, down from about half a decade ago.

Although the economic impact from deregulation might not be immediately significant for energy companies, environmental experts at the Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank, were quick to note the massive economic costs from the Obama-era regulations.

“President Trump’s executive order directing EPA to suspend, revise, or rescind President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is a good first step in restoring sanity to American energy policy,” said Isaac Oor, research fellow for energy and environment policy at the Heartland Institute, at the organization’s annual conference on climate change.

“Despite costing up to $39 billion and resulting in 68,000 people losing their jobs in the manufacturing sector each year, EPA’s own analysis showed the CPP would reduce potential future global warming only by 0.019 degrees C by 2100 – an amount too small to be accurately measured by even the most sophisticated scientific equipment. This means the Clean Power Plan hurts American workers for no measurable environmental gain,” said Oor.

Several environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and Earthjustice, and a Montana Native American tribe quickly filed lawsuits in federal court to block Trump’s deregulation.

“Reinstating coal leasing before fixing what’s wrong with this program is like letting a patient leave the hospital before needed surgery,” said Chase Huntley, climate and program director for The Wilderness Society, in a press release. “It does not make sense, especially when there is so little demand for more coal right now.”

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  • Paul Williamson

    All hat and no cattle. Trumps proclamations and executive orders are just propaganda to the deplorable Trumpies, to try to make him look good, they have no effect on the economy. He has not created one job yet, except to employ all of all his relatives and cronies he brought to in the White House. He has also created “jobs” for all the extra Secret Service necessary to protect Melania and little Donald in Trump Tower, and the extra police and Secret Service (costing $50 million/year) required to protect his weekly trips to Mar-A-Lago.

    • Mic

      Regarding coal– the EPA regs never made sense. As a non political Audit that retired from the Agency that audited coal, oil,gas, even geo-thermal production from Federal controlled land. The EPA rules were actually responsible for increased pollution. If you wonder way just think. EPA rules caused a lot of steel plants in the U.S. to close because they could not afford to meet the new pollution rules. BUT the rules did not reduce U.S. demand for steel. So what happened,—-the supply that U.S. plants no longer provided was obtained.from overseas mills that actually generated more pollution per ton than the US mills had. But their governments did not place then under similar rules. It is like the stupidity of some rules on electric power plants. A plant was not allowed to make any changes that would increase it usable life unless it would meet the new pollution rules. Their was actually one plant I knew of that was willing to make some pollution improvements, if they were allowed to replace their old power generating turbine, which would have greatly increase electrical generation with less pollution than before. But EPA would no allow it, so the company built a new plant just to provide most in the increased power the old plant could have provided. The new plant increased the total pollution generated if the two plants were counted together. Yet with slightly less electric generation than the old one would have been able to if modified. But THAT MEET EPA’s stupid rules. So less final power,more pollution at a higher cost than the company would have paid to modify the old plant.

      • Maxine Albritton

        I think it was in the last year the last lead plant closed down and probably went overseas. It was due to regulations too. So now I guess bullets and anything else with lead is not made here. Lets hope they come back.

    • temporary guest

      How much are you getting paid to spread that manure?

      • stevenlehar

        He probably makes 100K at a no-show “job”, but he knows that his duty is to troll conservative sites all day every day! Bloated Government and its minions working hard to preserve itself and grow like a cancer!

    • chris VN

      Here we go again with the security BS, because of idiots like you Paul, the security had to be upped, if you and the rest of the retards had taken your loss like real Americans, as the Republicans have for the last 8 years of economy and patriot-icy destroying, that much security wouldn’t be needed.

    • Tchiock

      Do you have any idea what it cost the tax payers for Obumma’s family to vacation annually? The government is laden with pork, nepotism and cronyism and handed out like it was their prerogative to do so— You need to stop watching drive by media—CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, HOLLYWOOD, Yahoo!

    • stevenlehar

      Troll alert! Troll alert! Don’t feed the trolls! It only makes them think they are part of the conversation.

    • John

      That’s not all, since POTUS Trump’s election companies that make Bandanas, playdoh,safety pins,crayons, magic markers, poster board, pink yarn and tear gas have been doing gangbusters as all the snowflakes have temper tantrums and either run to their safe space or hold “peace protests” while blocking traffic, smashing windows and trying to keep anyone with a different opinion from speaking.

    • Maxine Albritton

      well, the former took one million in vacations. I have to give him credit there, He does know how to vacation. At least this one stays in the country. I am sure going from DC to Fla. is cheaper than the extravagant vacations the former took and he is staying in his own dwellings. You probably know in the land of rich and famous hotel rooms can cost thousands a night.

  • Gym

    Thousands more Americans going back to work after another order from commie control freak obamanure is rescinded.

  • generalJed

    Paul Williamson is probably a paid Soros troll. That is why he has such a negative attitude. trump has done more for this country in almost every way in a few weeks that Pres. Obama did in eight years or G.W. Bush did. in his eight years. Finally, someone who actually does what he says!

    • Sylvia Avila

      Right!!! Paul is part of the liberal crazies that have been hurting out country!!

  • Tchiock

    Federal lands should not exist. Why on earth does the federal government thinks it knows better how to manage businesses better and cheaper than private industry? Of course some industries can’t be trusted and should be monitored — Many examples such as the misnomered federal reserve— Neither Federal nor anything in “reserve.” Public education, Post office, mortgage companies (Fannie and Freddie), health care, public radio and tv, The VA. General Motors… Others are self regulated and pushed by consumers such as supplement industry. Federal lands have a great history with renters—running cattle. Where there has been abuse the BLM has failed and should be taken to task. Hard to imagine the money wasted— Where is the common sense?

    • Sylvia Avila

      I Live in Nevada and Federal Government owns most of our land here! Don’t like it!

  • John

    I’m glad that putting Americans back to work is a high priority of PUTUS Trump. These are high paying jobs in an industry that benefits all of us. Even if you are a tree hugging Volt driver, you still need electricity and coal is a cheap fuel to power those plants.
    POTUS Trump keep rolling back those job killing,costly policies of ex president Failure.

    • Sylvia Avila

      Right!! You are John!! God Bless

  • EBRM

    You are an idiot together with Paul Williamson. Traitors.

  • Gary Von Neida

    The truth hurts; but, the Progressive / Leftist care little about real science or the facts produced; They only PARROT what Their HANDLERS feed Them , which is based on pseudo science and the One’s like Albert Gore that make Billions selling CARBON CREDITS.

    • Sylvia Avila

      Right!! Sounds funny! But you hit the target!! Right on!!!

  • Sylvia Avila

    Sorry you feel that way!! I see you have been poisoned by the left wing media!! They are all liars!! Never report news right!!!