BLM coal lease sale fails to attract a single bid, Greenpeace response

Media release - August 21, 2013
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Washington DC - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held a lease sale today in Cheyenne, Wyoming for 148 million tons of publicly owned coal, which failed to attract a single bid. Cloud Peak Energy, which applied for the lease in 2006 to expand its Cordero Rojo mine, released a statement confirming that it did not bid on the lease, citing "current market conditions and the uncertainty caused by the current political and regulatory environment towards coal and coal-powered generation." Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Kelly Mitchell commented:

"The failure to attract a single bid for the Maysdorf II coal lease shows that the federal coal leasing program is stuck with outdated and inaccurate assumptions about the US coal market. With demand for coal falling in the United States as we move to cleaner forms of energy, Cloud Peak apparently sees too much risk in expanding its Cordero Rojo coal mine, even at the subsidized rates offered by the Bureau of Land Management.

"While Cloud Peak recognizes falling US coal demand, the company is instead focused on expanding its Spring Creek mine in Montana to create what it admits is an 'export-focused mine complex' designed to extract publicly owned coal to ship to Asian markets. The Bureau of Land Management has failed to adapt to the coal mining industry's increased focus on exporting our coal to foreign markets, and continues to assume these lease sales are needed to 'meet the national coal demand.'

"Secretary Jewell should take this opportunity to establish a moratorium on new federal coal leasing in the Powder River Basin, and reform the federal coal leasing program to take into account the coal industry's export ambitions, and address concerns that it is fueling climate change and cheating taxpayers.”

A recent Interior Department Inspector General report revealed several flaws in the federal coal leasing program, including that the BLM is failing to take into account coal exports when selling federal leases. Concerns about the federal coal leasing program were detailed in a letter sent to Interior Secretary Jewell on her first day on the job from the leaders of 21 environmental, health, and consumer organizations. In July, several organizations again called on Secretary Jewell to fix the flaws in the federal coal management program and to stop selling new coal leases in the meantime.

Contact: Joe Smyth, Greenpeace Communications, 831-566-5647,

Note:

Cloud Peak Energy President and CEO Colin Marshall called the expansion of the Spring Creek Mine as an “export-focused mine complex” during the company’s fourth quarter 2012 earnings call http://seekingalpha.com/article/1182631-cloud-peak-energys-ceo-discusses-q4-2012-results-earnings-call-transcript?part=single