Washington (UPI) Mar 25, 2011
The U.S. Interior Department announced plans to sell mining leases for federal lands in Wyoming's Powder River Basin holding about 750 million tons of coal.
"Coal is a critical component of America's comprehensive energy portfolio as well as Wyoming's economy," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in his announcement Tuesday with Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead.
"As the No. 1 coal producer from public lands, Wyoming provided nearly 40 percent of the domestic coal used to generate electricity last year and it's important that we continue to encourage safe production of this important resource."
The coal would take 10 to 20 years to mine.
Interior said the total bonus bids and royalty payments over the life of the leases are estimated to generate $13.4 billion to $21.3 billion, 49 percent of which would go to the state of Wyoming.
But the Interior Department's estimate of the economic benefits "was off by a factor of 10" and would more likely produce a total of approximately $2 billion, Marion Loomis, executive director of the Wyoming Mining Association told the Billings (Mont.) Gazette newspaper.
Loomis said he had accepted Salazar's numbers, which had widely been included in news reports of the Interior's announcement, until they struck him as inaccurate and calculations revealed an apparent decimal-shift of an error.
Interior said more coal development plans are pending in the Wyoming portion of the Powder River Basin: the South Porcupine, North Porcupine, North Highlight and West Highlight tracts, covering nearly 14,000 acres. The tracts contain an estimated 1.6 billion tons of mineable coal, or a total of 2.3 billion tons when combined with the tracts announced this week.
Environmentalists criticized the lease sales, saying that the Interior Department neglected to consider the impact of coal mining on climate change and health.
When burned, the 2.35 billion tons of coal threatens to release more than 3.9 billion tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, equal to the annual emissions from 300 coal-fired power plants, said environmental group WildEarth Guardians.
"We can't achieve a clean energy future by mining 2.35 billion tons of coal," said Jeremy Nichols, Climate and Energy Program director for WildEarth Guardians. "Rather than look ahead to our energy future, Secretary Salazar seems content to keep looking in the rearview mirror, keeping this country dangerously dependent on dirty energy."
But the Interior Department says the basin's coal contains 15 times less sulfur than eastern coal, so it burns relatively cleaner, releasing fewer greenhouse emissions.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Surviving the Pits
Wyoming coal leases to be auctioned
Washington (UPI) Mar 24, 2011
Huge coal reserves in Wyoming will be auctioned off in coming months, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, despite a push for cleaner, renewable energy. Four coal leases adjacent to existing strip mines in the Powder River Basin, the largest coal-producing region in the United States, will total 758 million tons and take between 10 and 20 years to mine, the Los Angeles Times report ... read more
Switch to fresh water to cool Japan nuclear plant: IAEA|
Japan's TEPCO under pressure over injured workers
Two workers at Japan plant taken to hospital
Japan resumes dousing smouldering nuclear plant
Researchers Devise Model For Stronger Self-Healing Materials By Adding More Give
Cheap Catalyst Made Easy
Seeing In Stereo: Engineers Invent Lens For 3-D Microscope
EU fixes post-Japan nuclear safety overhaul
Iraqi Kurdistan building 11 dams, 28 more planned
Fish Know To Avoid The Spear
Ancient Trash Heaps Gave Rise To Everglades Tree Islands
Food Agency calls for increased, safe urban water supplies
Wheels Up for Extensive Survey of Arctic Ice
Arctic-Wide Measurements Verify Rapid Ozone Depletion In Recent Days
Pace of polar ice melt 'accelerating rapidly': study
Soot Packs A Punch On Tibetan Plateau's Climate
Carbon Tax Must Not Comprise Food And Fibre Production
Two Rivers Water Company Signs Agreement On 1000 Acres Of Farmland
Nestle brand faces 'difficulties' with coffee supply
Japan nuclear food scare spreads to US, Europe
Koreas agree to hold volcano talks
Tsunami survivors search for bodies to mourn
Fault-Finding Coral Reefs Can Predict the Site of Coming Earthquakes
French-Turkish researchers detect early quake signals
Burkina Faso soldiers freed from prison after protests
Passions stirred, Gbagbo backers "ready to die" for I.Coast
African Union demands 'immediate' halt to Libya attacks
War clouds gather over Sudan again
Rare gene defect affects both pain, smell
A New Evolutionary History Of Primates
Study: More immigrant families are intact
Study: Neanderthals had control of fire
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|