IEEFA Research

The Federal Government’s Coal-Leasing Program Is Broken: Here’s How to Fix It

Appoint a Price-Setting Commission; Ban Exports; Cancel Some Leases; Eliminate Self-Bonding; Mandate Set-Asides for Mine Clean-up and Miner Pensions; Require Twice-a-Year Audits; Assume Smaller Markets

It’s time for the U.S. to modernize how it manages its publicly owned coal reserves. That’s the essence of comments we’ve filed today with the Department of the Interior as it begins a review of its federal coal-leasing program in the Powder River Basin, a program that has been mismanaged for years at taxpayer expense […]

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More News and Commentary

Mounting Risk (and Opportunity) in Coal Industry Self-Bonding

Gregory DL Morris for Risk & Insurance: Waves of bankruptcies convulsing the coal industry in the United States leave billions of dollars in mine remediation costs potentially unfunded, and raise ominous questions for both tactical insurance and strategic risk management. Dozens of coal companies are in court-supervised reorganization or liquidation, some of them for the […]

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With Demise of Coal Industry’s Self-Bonding, a Shortage of Alternatives

Joshua Learn for SNL: As more and more coal producers shift away from the practice of self-bonding, companies may have an increasingly difficult time finding surety bonds to back their reclamation obligations. “We are seeing that surety bonding is becoming more expensive and less available,” said Anna Zubets-Anderson, a senior analyst at Moody, at a […]

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Arch Coal Says It Will End Its ‘Self-Bonding’ Scheme and Make Good on Mine Cleanups

Tracy Rucinksi for Reuters: U.S. coal miner Arch Coal has agreed to set aside collateral to cover future mine cleanup costs as part of its bankruptcy reorganization plan, according to a court filing, ending its controversial use of “self-bonds.” For decades the largest U.S. coal companies have used a federal subsidy known as “self-bonding,” which […]

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BLM Official in Wyoming: Coal Reserves ‘Belong to the American People’

Taylor Kuykendall for SNL: Officials charged with leasing federal coal remain busy even if there is moratorium on the practice. Mary Jo Rugwell was selected as the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s state director for Wyoming, the nation’s top-producing coal state, earlier this year. While new coal leases are paused for a review of the […]

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Government Review in Australia of Coal Self-Bonding Schemes

Joanne McCarthy for the Newcastle Herald: The NSW Audit Office will put mine rehabilitation bonds and the NSW Department of Industry’s control of bonds and mine rehabilitation under the microscope. The Audit Office has released terms of reference for an audit in response to mounting concerns about the adequacy of bonds, and whether taxpayers risk […]

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On the Blogs: Texas Taxpayers on the Hook for $250 Million in Coal Mine Cleanup

Naveena Sadasivam for the Texas Observer: Environmental advocates urged state lawmakers to require coal companies to set aside cash or bonds to cover the cost of cleaning up mines instead of permitting companies to self-bond, a process that could leave Texans on the hook for more than $250 million in environmental cleanup. “The backwards-looking instruments […]

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Regulator Proceeds With Crackdown on Self-Bonding by Collapsing Coal Industry

Heather Richards for the Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune: The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement announced that the agency would begin crafting a self-bonding rule, which will go through multiple comment periods, could potentially change eligibility requirements for the practice, incorporate new bonding mechanisms or institute yearly reviews of the financial health of self-bonded companies. […]

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U.S. Moves to Protect Taxpayers, State by State, From Coal Cleanup Costs

Tracy Rucinski for Reuters: States should force coal companies to set aside collateral to pay for future mine cleanups and protect taxpayers as the industry braces for further declines, a leading federal regulator said on Tuesday. Three of the largest U.S. coal producers, Peabody Energy, Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources, have filed for bankruptcy […]

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On the Blogs: Ruling Favors New Restrictions on Self-Bonding

Kari Lydersen for Midwest Energy News: A federal bankruptcy judge found that the Environmental Law & Policy Center and the Western Office of Resource Councils can proceed in petitioning the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) regarding Peabody’s use of “self-bonding” for eventual clean-up of its coal mines. When a company is […]

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On the Blogs: Coal Producers Must Clean Up Mine Sites They’re Leaving Behind

Mark Squillace for The coal industry is in a crisis, largely of its own making, and it is now threatening to take taxpayers down with it. Hard-working Americans could be on the hook for billions of dollars in mine clean-up costs if we don’t put a stop to this. The problem lies with “self-bonding,” […]

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