Decker, MT - Greenpeace flew its airship over the Decker coal mine in Montana today to challenge Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell to stop leasing publicly owned coal at subsidized rates, with large banners reading “Coal exports fuel climate change” and “Keep our coal in the ground.” The Decker coal mine is owned by Ambre Energy, an Australian company seeking to expand its access to publicly owned coal as part of its controversial proposals to export coal through Oregon and Washington.
“Secretary Jewell says she wants to address climate change to protect threatened national parks like Mount Rainier and Glacier, but she hasn’t yet taken any steps to end the federal coal leasing program, a major source of carbon pollution that has been mismanaged by the Bureau of Land Management for decades,” said Diana Best, Greenpeace Western Organizing Manager who joined the flight over the mine, “The Decker coal mine is a prime example of the flawed federal coal leasing program, and there’s no reason we should give away our coal to companies like Ambre Energy at subsidized rates just so they can export coal and pollution to Asia.”
The Greenpeace airship also flew earlier this week near Glacier National Park to highlight the climate change impacts of coal exports and mining. The airship flights follow a Greenpeace report last week, “Leasing Coal, Fueling Climate Change,” which details how the Bureau of Land Management has unlocked 3.9 billion tons of carbon pollution during the Obama administration and is subsidizing the coal industry’s export ambitions. Both the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service are part of the Interior Department.
The Decker coal mine is among those in a recent report from the Sightline Institute, which detailed the specific mines and companies that are taking advantage of the federal coal leasing program to increase exports of publicly owned coal. Ambre is seeking a lease modification that would add 40 million tons of coal on lands adjacent to its existing lease at the Decker mine. Last week, the Bureau of Land Management sold eight million tons of publicly owned coal in Colorado, ignoring concerns about climate change and coal exports.
The Greenpeace airship is the only aircraft of its kind in the United States, achieving lift with hot air like a balloon, but also capable of directional flight.
Available for download at: http://photo.greenpeace.org/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox&STID=27MZIF39SWE4&CT=Story
Contact: Joe Smyth, Greenpeace Communications, 831-566-5647,