Climate + Energy

It Continues to be Time to Keep Our Coal in the Ground

19131775212_55426838bc_oWhile our nation continues to move away from costly and dirty coal, this reality unfortunately hasn’t stopped President Trump and his Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, from sinking to ever more corrupt lows in an attempt to use our federal government to subsidize the dying industry.

Their latest plans call for selling off 640 acres of publicly owned coal to Peabody Energy, the nation’s largest coal company, to expand its Foidel Creek mine in Colorado.

Located just outside the ski resort of Steamboat Springs in Routt County, the Foidel Creek mine is permitted to mine up to 12 million tons of coal every year, which is the equivalent of 22 million tons of carbon emissions. That equals the amount of climate pollution released by more than four million cars.

foidel creek

And while the mine’s main customers, including power plants in the Denver Metro Area of Colorado, have been shutting down, Peabody apparently believes it needs to mine more coal.

It’s this same absurd mindset that drove the company to bankruptcy in 2016.

That Trump and Zinke would even entertain selling more coal to Peabody is abhorrent.  What’s worse is that to do so, they seem to be cutting about every corner possible and effectively using taxpayers dollars to pay for the company’s pipe dream.

In recent comments to the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management, WildEarth Guardians exposed how the agency is glossing over the full environmental impacts of more mining at Foidel Creek and dishonestly assessing the climate, health, clean air, and water implications of more mining.

Adding insult to injury, Trump and Zinke seem poised to give Peabody the break of a lifetime. It’s telling that in the past, the federal government has sold publicly owned coal to Peabody in Colorado (through its subsidiary, Twentymile Coal Company) for as low as 25¢ per ton.

To put that into perspective, American taxpayers have recovered only 25¢ for every ton of publicly owned coal sold to Peabody. To put that further into perspective, 25¢ per ton is the cost of a gumball. If that’s not a scam, I don’t know what is.

And while Trump and Zinke seem to be moving to sell off our coal to Peabody for rock bottom prices, they also seem poised to cut Peabody even more breaks. Most recently, the Bureau of Land Management proposed to cut the company’s royalty payments. The move would cost taxpayers millions.

Together with other major rollbacks, it’s clear that Trump and Zinke couldn’t care less about protecting the public interest. With their latest plans to sell more coal to Peabody, it’s clear they expect Americans to shoulder the cost of more mining and prop up the dying coal industry on our backs.

Fortunately, WildEarth Guardians is steadfastly defending reality and pushing back hard against this latest Peabody scheme in Colorado. While Trump and Zinke may deny climate change, may deny the fact of coal’s demise, and may deny that Americans don’t want their taxpayers dollar to subsidize the coal industry, that doesn’t change the truth.

You can also help us push back against this coal giveaway. If you haven’t already, send a letter and join in resisting giving our coal away to Peabody.

For our climate, our future, and for clean affordable energy, it has been and continues to be time to keep our coal in the ground.