Gordon pledges to fight feds' plan to end coal leases

Gordon said in a statement the move will be devastating for Wyoming’s consumers, coal industry and economy.

Published: May 17, 2024 6:05pm

(The Center Square) -

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon pledged to fight a federal plan to end coal leasing in the Powder River Basin.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management proposed amendments to the Buffalo Field Office's land use plan to make it unavailable for future coal leases, while "federal coal production is anticipated to continue through 2041 under existing leases."

"Both U.S. total coal production and Powder River Basin coal production peaked in 2008 and have since declined steeply, according to the Energy Information Administration," the bureau said in a statement on Thursday.

Gordon said in a statement the move will be devastating for Wyoming’s consumers, coal industry and economy.

“This decision, compounded by the recent EPA rules, ensures President Biden’s legacy will be about blackouts and energy poverty for Wyoming’s citizens and beyond,” the governor said.

The Buffalo Field Office covers 12 active coal mines that produced 400 million short tons of coal in 2008, but 220 million in 2022, the BLM noted.

"I promise that the State of Wyoming will fully utilize the opportunities available to kill or modify this Record of Decision before it is signed and final," Gordon added. "The issues we face globally right now are too important and too urgent to dither away with incoherent policies and wrongheaded initiatives. As with the other attacks on Wyoming’s fossil fuel industries, the Attorney General is actively pursuing options to challenge these destructive decisions."

The Center for Western Priorities based in Denver, Colorado, thinks BLM’s decision will be good for Wyoming and the country.

“America’s energy future cannot include coal leasing,” Deputy Director Aaron Weiss said in a press release. “The only way to address the climate crisis is to transition to a renewable energy economy, and America’s public lands are at the center of that transition.”

"We’re thankful to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning, and all of the hard-working scientists and land managers who prepared these management plans," he added.

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