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Democratic Attorneys General Urge Biden Administration to Consider Full Ramifications of Federal Coal Leasing Program

  • California AG Rob Bonta, New Mexico AG Hector Balderas, New York AG Letitia James, and Washington AG Bob Ferguson sent a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) urging it to consider the full social and environmental costs of the federal coal leasing program when making decisions regarding the future of the program.
  • The letter notes that the last full environmental review of the federal coal leasing program was completed in 1979, before the causes and impacts of climate change were fully understood. The letter further notes that the Obama administration placed a moratorium on coal leases and initiated a comprehensive environmental review of the program, but the Trump administration stopped the review and restarted the program.
  • The letter argues that BLM must consider the climate and environmental justice impacts that coal leasing produces, including, among other things, the fact that the federal coal leasing program is associated with approximately eleven percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and that the particulate matter emissions from the storage and handling of coal is known to cause or contribute to a number of serious health conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.