Skip to main content

Trump to offer federal coal to industry awash in reserves

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has billed his move to re-open federal lands to new coal leases as a win for miners seeking to expand production. 

But a review of company filings shows that coal miners with the most to gain already have enough leases in hand to last well over a decade.

Trump will sign a decree on Tuesday to reverse former President Barack Obama's 2016 ban on new federal coal leases, part of a wide-ranging executive order to sweep away green regulations his administration says have hobbled the drilling and mining industries.

"When we evaluate energy, let's look at the social cost of not having a job," Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a Twitter post on Tuesday ahead of the executive order.

But companies focused on coal deposits below federal lands, such as Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, and Cloud Peak, have enough coal in the ground on existing leases to last an average of more than 17 years at 2015 sales levels, earnings reports show.

That suggests miners could already ramp up production levels immediately if the market demanded more coal. 

Energy experts say that is unlikely on a large scale due to stiff competition from cheap and abundant natural gas.

"These initiatives prevent things from getting worse for coal, but they won't help much," said Charles Dayton, vice president of market analytics at Doyle Trading Consultants in Colorado, which has been tracking reserve levels on public lands.

Shares in Cloud Peak were up about 3 percent in early trading on Tuesday, ahead of the executive order, with Peabody up 1.5 percent and Arch down 0.3 percent.

The current level of reserves appeared to be within historical norms. 

A decade ago, under Republican President George W. Bush when there were no bans on federal coal leasing, the industry had about 18 years worth of leases on federal lands, according to a Reuters examination of securities filings.

Arch Coal and Peabody confirmed they have substantial reserves on their federal leases already, but nonetheless welcomed Trump’s move.

"Peabody has a comfortable amount of reserves in the Powder River Basin, although we recognize the poor public policy represented by the leasing moratorium put into place by the prior administration," Peabody spokesman Vic Svec told Reuters in an email.

Arch Coal has "sufficient permitted reserves to sustain our operations on federal lands for a number of years to come," spokeswoman Logan Bonacorsi said. 

"But as with all producers we will need to add reserves over time, and the ability to obtain those reserves when needed is important."

Officials at Peak and Contura did not respond to requests for comment.

Trump's executive order will also seek to undo Obama-era rules limiting carbon emissions. One example is the Clean Power Plan, a regulation that would have increased pressure on states to replace coal-fired power stations with ones using cleaner fuels like natural gas, wind and solar.


Obama's administration imposed the temporary ban on new federal coal leases in January 2016 as part of a broad environmental and economic review to ensure royalties from lease deals provide fair returns to taxpayers.

It was not immediately clear whether the royalty review would continue even with the ban on leases lifted. 

Some analysts said this scenario could trigger a near-term land rush by companies fearing higher royalty rates in the future.

Coal accounts for about a third of U.S. electricity production, down from about half a decade ago. 

About 40 percent of all U.S. coal comes from federal lands, mainly in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana.

Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association industry group, said he expected Trump’s executive order to have symbolic impact, at least.

"Lifting the moratorium would strengthen the signal to markets that the federal government is not any longer standing in the way of fossil energy," he said.

He added that re-opening federal lands to new leases could also play into a production upswing if demand ultimately increases. 

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has forecast a 9 percent increase in western coal production to 443.4 million short tons by 2018, driven mainly by higher natural gas prices.

Others were less optimistic about the U.S. coal industry's outlook, saying the best Trump could do is slow the sector’s decline. 

Since 2012, coal production has plunged more than 25 percent to the lowest levels since 1978 due to falling prices. 

The industry has been hit with massive layoffs and bankruptcies.


Popular posts from this blog

Armenian protesters block traffic, railways & airport as protest leader loses PM bid

Anti-government protesters disrupted traffic in Armenia’s capital, blocking railways and roads leading to Yerevan International Airport, after the parliament voted against opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan’s bid for interim PM.
Protesters managed to block streets connecting downtown Yerevan to residential districts, disrupting transportation in Armenia’s capital, footage from the scene shows. 
Yerevan’s metro system has also been paralyzed as demonstrators sit on the tracks, preventing trains from passing.
Meanwhile, protesters disrupted traffic on a road leading to Yerevan’s Zvartnots International Airport, located just 12km from the center of the city. 
Consequently, some passengers had to go the rest of the way on foot in order to catch their flights, according to Sputnik news agency.
Railway services have also been disrupted all across the country amid the demonstrations, a spokesman for South Caucasus Railways confirmed to Interfax. 
Some other highways, including the one connecting th…

Iran Killing Command: The use of firearms in dealing with protesters

The document you see on the image is the order of the commander of the Tehran repressive force to all the units based in the city.

Based on this agenda, the mercenaries of the corrupt government Islamic Republic of Iran have been allowed to use firearms in the event of any protest movement against people by the regime.
This is a murder command.
The repressive force of the law, known to the world's famous police and guardians, should protect the lives of its citizens, by freeing their mercenaries, they allow them to murder Iranians who are protesting the corruption in the government and you have the important message that if you come to the streets in protest of corruption and torture and massacre, we will kill you.
Because, according to criminal Khomeini, maintenance of the system is obligatory.
A corrupt government that is so hideous that spend billions of dollars from the national treasury and popular capitalto the suppression of its people and the countries of the region, must be ov…

ایران فرمان قتل : دستور استفاده از سلاح گرم در برخورد با معترضان

سندی که در تصویر میبینید دستور فرمانده نیروی سرکوبگر انتظامی تهران به همه یگانهای مستقر در این شهر است.
بر اساس این دستور کار ، مزدوران حکومت فاسد نظام جمهوری اسلامی اجازه یافته اند که درصورت بروز هرگونه جنبش اعتراضی از سوی مردم علیه رژیم ، از سلاح گرم استفاده کنند.
این دستور یک فرمان قتل است.
نیروی سرکوبگر انتظامی که به ظاهر و تعریف شناخته شده پلیس در سراسر جهان ، میبایست حافظ جان شهروندان باشد ، با آزاد گذاشتن دست مزدوران چکمه پوش خود انها را مجاز به قتل ایرانیان معترض به فسادهای موجود درلایه های حکومت میکنند و این پیام مهم را در خود دارد که اگر در اعتراض به  فساد و شکنجه و کشتار به خیابانها بریزید شما را خواهیم کشت.
چرا که به گفته خمینی دجال، حفظ نظام از اوجب واجبات است.
حکومت فاسدی که انقدر وقیح هست که میلیاردها دلار از خزانه ملی و سرمایه مردمی را صرف سرکوب مردم خود و کشورهای منطقه میکند باید سرنگون کرد.
اکنون چهل سال است که کشور ما به اشغال این ملایان جنایکتارخونخوار و اسلام تحمیلی در آمده است .
هنوز باورش برای برخی سخت است که درک کنند کشور ما به معنای واقعی کلمه از سوی بنیادگرایان الله…