Bureau of Land Management schedules Colorado coal lease, ignoring coal exports and carbon pollution

Media release - July 1, 2014
Washington DC - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) posted a notice in the Federal Register today that it plans to lease more than 8 millions tons of publicly owned coal in Colorado, despite the fact that the company requesting the coal, Bowie Resource Partners, is touting plans to boost coal exports.

The coal lease sale, scheduled for July 30, also follows a federal court ruling last Friday that halted plans for a separate Colorado coal lease in part because the Bureau of Land Management’s environmental review failed to consider the impacts of climate change and the “social cost of carbon.” In response, Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Kelly Mitchell said:

“The federal coal leasing program is undermining President Obama’s climate action plan and subsidizing the coal industry’s efforts to export publicly owned coal, and now the Bureau of Land Management apparently plans to sell more publicly owned coal to a company that openly touts its export plans. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell should step in and establish a moratorium on coal leasing, since the Bureau of Land Management appears unable or unwilling to fix the serious flaws with the federal coal leasing program.”

Bowie Resource Partners has touted plans to boost coal exports from its mines, including from its Bowie #2 mine in Western Colorado that the company aims to expand with this new “Spruce Stomp” coal lease. In a press release announcing a deal with private equity firm Galena to purchase three Utah coal mines, Bowie Resource Partners pointed to its agreement to export coal through the Port of Stockton. It also noted that the company has “a Letter of Intent for additional export capacity via a Pacific port in the Northwestern US” and plans to pursue coal export proposals at other West Coast ports. Earlier this year, the Port of Oakland rejected a coal export proposal from Bowie Resource Partners.

Despite Bowie’s plans to export publicly owned coal, the BLM’s “Finding of No Significant Impact” decision for the Spruce Stomp coal lease ignores the potential for coal exports, asserting that the coal would contribute "to the supply of coal to meet the nation's energy demands."

Both the December 2013 Government Accountability Office review and the March 2014 Department of Interior Inspector General evaluation of the federal coal leasing program faulted BLM for failing to properly consider coal exports when leasing publicly owned coal.

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