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Map of U.S. coal supply regions and states

New Report Analyzes Potential Changes to Federal Coal-Leasing Program

2/22/2016

New Report Analyzes Potential Changes to Federal Coal-Leasing Program

2/22/2016

Vulcan

Map of U.S. coal supply regions and states

Humans are fundamentally changing the planet’s environment, including its climate. The evidence is all around us – shrinking glaciers and ice sheets, rising sea levels, 2015 was the warmest year on record, and this trend is continuing with the past January standing alone as the hottest ever recorded. This warming is changing the way our earth functions and threatens to upset the balance of both human and natural systems across the globe.

These current changes are driven primarily by human consumption of fossil fuels and are manifested as increased flooding of our coastal cities, increased incidences of droughts and wildfires and destabilizing historic weather patterns that carry geopolitical implications. Vulcan is tackling climate change in the way that we approach other major global challenges. We believe that policies and actions should be informed by sound data, and those data-driven solutions can help ensure a better world for future generations.

As Vulcan’s founder Paul G. Allen stated in his blog post, the combustion of coal contributes more climate pollution than any other any fossil fuel. In the U.S., it is time to assess the long term cost of the federal coal-leasing program to society. We have a severe gap in our understanding of the economic and climate impacts of the federal coal program because the Bureau of Land Management has not conducted a comprehensive, program-wide impact study since 1979.

As part of Vulcan’s initiative to examine the federal coal-leasing program, we commissioned a forward-looking analysis using ICF International’s Integrated Planning Model (IPM®) to test various policy cases for reform of the program. Consistent with all of Vulcan’s programs, projects and initiatives, we gather and share the foundational data needed to help tackle the world’s toughest challenges; and, there is no challenge more daunting and important than addressing climate change.

Energy markets are incredibly complex and the interactions are often not obvious. The IPM model allowed our team to examine important tradeoffs and we hope this study assists policy makers and other stakeholders in understanding how emergent policy choices regarding federal coal can affect both the energy market and climate pollution for decades to come.

We applaud the recent announcement from the Obama administration to initiate a comprehensive review of the coal-leasing program. It is imperative that this process leads to outcomes that ensure the program is structured to provide a fair return to taxpayers, minimize its impact on the environment, and is consistent with our nation’s commitment to address climate change.

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