Biden Admin Seeks to End Leasing in Major US Coal Region

( – Thousands of jobs in the coal industry are now in jeopardy after a proposal put forward by the Biden administration that seeks to end coal leasing in federal reserve lands.

The initiative was proposed by the White House through the Bureau of Land Management, and is part of the left-leaning government’s push towards cutting the consumption and production of fossil fuels and lessening greenhouse gasses. The proposal will affect leases to mine underground mineral reserves on government land located in the Powder River Basin area. The Powder River Basin are spans millions of acres across parts of Montana and Wyoming and is considered one of America’s richest coal-producing regions. In 2019, the area provided close to half of coal produced in the country, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The administration of president Joe Biden has steadily cracked down on coal mining, production, and use in the U.S. as part of its climate change agenda. The U.S. government is part of an international pledge conducted during the United Nations Climate Summit in 2023, where it joined several other countries in committing to stop the construction of new coal-fired power plants and eventually discontinue the use of plants that are currently still in operation.

While environmental activists lauded the proposal, it has in turn drawn sharp criticism from Republicans, who say that such sweeping and immediate decisions can drastically disadvantage workers and communities who depend on the industry for their livelihood.

Republican Wyoming Senator John Barrasso called the proposal “short-sighted” and said that the state stands to lose millions of dollars in revenue and taxes used to provide basic services to its citizens.

Critics of the Biden administration’s decision have also pointed out that in contrast, China has no such compunction to end coal mining and production. The world’s second-largest economy reportedly issued permits for the construction of as much as two coal plants a week in 2022.

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