Obama Too Coal-Friendly


coal pollution obama

Despite declaring he would veto a tax cut bill if it comes to his desk with horrible anti-environment riders mentioned in my previous post, Obama’s administration has actually been far too friendly to the coal industry.

“The disconnect between the Obama administration’s approach to managing federal coal resources in Wyoming and its rhetoric on climate change is growing. The administration needs to explain why it’s pledging to fight climate change on the one hand while on the other supporting the increased production of a resource that heavily contributes to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and mercury pollution,” Tom Kenworthy of the Center for American Progress notes.

“Further, the issues groups are raising in lawsuits challenging some Wyoming coal sales, including better assessments of the environmental impacts of coal leases, are ones the administration should take into consideration.

If Wyoming were a nation, it would be the third-largest coal-producing country in the world. In 2009 the state’s 20 mines produced 431 million tons of coal, or 40 percent of U.S. production, according to the most recent statistics published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.”

The Obama administration announced that it would be selling off billions of tons of Wyoming coal in March. More such sales are in the pipeline.

Obama shouldn’t be messing around with this dirty stuff. He shouldn’t be opening up large tracts of land for coal mining. What the heck is he thinking?

The Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, and WildEarth Guardians are suing the administration over some of these sales. But why in the world should environmental organizations have to sue a Democratic president’s administration over such issues?

“In spite of the massive carbon dioxide emissions resulting from Powder River Basin coal production,” the lawsuit charges, the BLM “continues to issue new coal leases in the Basin without fully analyzing the environmental impacts—particularly climate change impacts—of increased carbon dioxide emissions resulting from this coal leasing.”

Much more info on this story is available over on Climate Progress.

Coal pollution image via shutterstock

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