Today, U.S. Senators Mike Enzi, John Barrasso and Representative Cynthia Lummis, all R-Wyo., released the following statements in response to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) kicking off a series of listening sessions starting today in Washington, D.C. to discuss raising the royalty rates on the Federal Coal Leasing Program. The BLM plans to host similar listening sessions across the country in the coming weeks, including one in Gillette, WY on August 13.
“This Administration is fixated on killing coal without consideration of the consequences or lack of non-political benefits,” Enzi said. “Raising the costs of mining coal will not only hike electricity prices and destroy high-wage mining jobs, but may actually decrease government revenue that pay for education and more. I urge anyone who is worried about this attempt to raise energy taxes to reach out to the BLM and share their concerns.”
“If Interior officials are going to use this so-called ‘listening tour’ to try to justify even more actions that hurt people in coal country, they should cancel their trip,” Barrasso said. “If the Obama Administration is truly concerned about receiving a greater return on federal coal, it should immediately withdraw EPA regulations which undermine demand for coal. The Administration should also make it easier for America to export our coal to overseas markets, especially those in Asia.”
“The BLM’s decision to start its listening tour here in Washington D.C. is to be expected,” Lummis said. “The Obama White House prefers to roll out its proposals to friendly audiences in Washington far away from American communities like Gillette who would bear the brunt of a tax hike on coal. I welcome an honest and open conversation about federal coal policies, including every Administration policy designed to keep coal in the ground, stifle momentum towards cleaner technologies, and deny Americans their most abundant, affordable, and reliable form of energy.”
Additional information on the listening sessions follows:
- July 29, 2015, 1:00-4:00 pm EST. Washington, D.C.: South Interior Building Auditorium, 1951 Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, D.C. 20245
- August 11, 2015, 1:00-4:00 pm MST. Billings, MT: Hampton Inn, Lewis and Clark Conference Center, 5110 Southgate Drive, Billings, MT 59101
- August 13, 2015, 1:00-4:00 pm MST. Gillette, WY: Campbell County Library, 2101 4-J Road, Gillette, WY 82718
- August 18, 2015, 1:00 -4:00 pm MST. Denver, Colorado: Marriott Denver West, 1717 Denver West Blvd, Golden, CO 80401
- August 20, 2015, 1:00-4:00 pm MST. Farmington, NM: Courtyard Marriott, 560 Scott Avenue, Farmington, NM 87401
The meetings in Washington, D.C. and Denver will have a livestream option for people to participate remotely. The meetings can be accessed at www.blm.gov/live.