January 15, 2016 Contact: Alexandra Merlino
For Immediate Release:
Obama Administration Orders Comprehensive Review
of Federal Coal Leasing Program
Coal impacts on public health, land, water, wildlife and climate
to be evaluated for first time in 38 years
Santa Fe, New Mexico – The Obama Administration today announced that the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management will conduct a comprehensive review of the program through which coal leases are obtained and managed on federal, public lands. The review, a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), will assess the impacts that coal mining and transport on public lands has on public health, land, water, wildlife and climate.
The Partnership for Responsible Business, Las Cruces Green Chamber and Santa Fe Green Chamber represent hundreds of New Mexico businesses who want to see clean energy development on public lands. According to a Colorado College poll released on January 11, 63% of Western voters want to encourage the use of solar and wind energy, compared to 3% each for oil and coal.
“We applaud President Obama and Secretary Jewell for their leadership in reforming a federal coal program that is outdated, harmful to public health, harmful to the environment and costing taxpayers millions of dollars in lost revenues,“ said Alexandra Merlino, Executive Director of the Partnership for Responsible Business.
“With these reforms, the Obama Administration is responding to calls from local communities, landowners, taxpayer advocates, government watchdogs, sportsmen and many others across New Mexico to modernize a federal coal program that has been ignored for more than three decades,” said Glenn Schiffbauer, Executive Director of the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce.
“New Mexico taxpayers deserve a fair share from the development of coal on their public lands. The current federal coal program lacks transparency and coal companies are selling to themselves at intentionally depressed prices to avoid royalties owed to the public. We support reforms to ensure an open and fair coal-leasing program,” adds Carrie Hamblen, Executive Director of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce.
About the Partnership for Responsible Business:
Founded in 2010, the mission of the Partnership for Responsible Business is to educate the public about local sustainable economies, to promote economic and community development through environmentally and socially responsible entrepreneurship, and to partner with allied organizations to advance socially responsible economic and community development policies and practices.
About the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce:
Santa Fe’s Green Chamber of Commerce works to build a sustainable community of local businesses that are environmentally sound, economically viable and socially responsible through action, advocacy and education.
About the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce:
The Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce is a network of businesses dedicated to building a healthy, vibrant, and diverse local economy in Las Cruces and surrounding areas. Our members believe in the Triple Bottom Line: People, Planet, and Profit. They support investing in the community; protecting our air, land and water; and creating long-term economic stability.