Feds Consider Updating State Coal Compensation
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
DENVER – For the first time in more than 30 years, the U.S. Department of the Interior is reviewing how it manages publicly-owned coal reserves. The agency oversees 75 percent of all coal mined in Colorado, and is holding a hearing today in Denver about its coal program.
Kathy White, deputy director of the Colorado Fiscal Institute, says it's critical the state get its fair share of royalties and other taxes paid by companies that extract coal from public lands.
"We want to be sure the royalties that are being paid to the federal government, and coming back to Colorado, is sufficient to do all of the reclamation, environmental protection and community benefit that they are intended to do," she says.
White cites a report from Headwaters Economics that shows rate reductions granted by the Interior Department between 1990 and 2013 meant lost royalties of more than $45 million for the state. She says that money could have been used to safely restore closed mines, build water treatment plants and fund public schools.
According to White, 90 percent of the coal managed by the Interior Department in Colorado comes from underground mines, where the environmental effects can be far-reaching. In the wake of the toxic Gold King mine spill earlier this month, White adds the agency's coal program needs to be transparent and accountable to the public.
"And making sure that we're able to mitigate the impacts of this resource extraction," she says. "These are mostly underground mines, and with underground mines there are a lot of issues, as we've seen with the stuff happening in southern Colorado."
The Interior Department oversees almost one trillion tons of publicly-owned coal reserves. In 2014, more than 40 percent of all coal produced in the U.S. came from public lands.
get more stories like this via email
SALT LAKE CITY -- In the push toward carbon-free energy production, some cities in Utah and nearby states are considering a new type of nuclear …
Health and Wellness
TAMPA, Fla. -- Move United's USA Wheelchair Football League is expanding from four cities to nine, including Tampa, to give athletes with …
CRAIG, Colo. -- What would it look like if one in four households in the country was solar-powered? A new report from the "30 Million Solar Homes" …
Health and Wellness
DES MOINES, Iowa -- People across the Midwest, including Iowans, have dealt with a series of heat waves this summer. Health experts say hotter …
NEW YORK -- Over 10,000 New York and New Jersey front-line airport workers will get health insurance as part of new contract negotiations that come at…
INDIANAPOLIS -- Voting-rights advocates applaud this week's federal appeals-court decision to prevent Indiana from purging some voters from the rolls …
BOSTON -- A new survey finds widespread public support up and down the East Coast for protecting right whales from getting tangled up in fishing gear…
CARSON CITY, Nev. - A bill just introduced in the U.S, Senate would help thousands of species stay off the Endangered Species List - including …