Federal law requires coal companies to reclaim and restore land and water resources that have been degraded by mining. But at many sites, reclamation occurs slowly, if it all. Mining companies are required to post performance bonds to ensure the successful completion of reclamation efforts should they become insolvent, but regulators have discretion to accept “self-bonds,” which allow many companies to operate without posting any surety or collateral.
The US coal industry faces not just overcapacity but crippling liabilities that will outlive mine closures. Setting the industry on a viable course will require all stakeholders to step up with new ideas.
Illuminating the Hidden Costs of Coal: How the Interior Department Can Use Economic Tools to Modernize the Federal Coal Program
This report aims to illuminate some of the hidden costs of coal production, which Interior should account for in order to modernize the federal coal program and earn a more fair return. If Interior had used a higher royalty rate that accounts for even a fraction of the public costs of mining, it could have earned an additional $2 billion from 2009 to 2013, from coal production in four western states-Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, and Utah.
To modernize the coal program and earn a more fair return, Interior should:
This report identifies billions of dollars in subsidies for fossil fuel exploration from the world's wealthiest countries. This government support for expanding oil, gas, and coal reserves continues despite a 2009 commitment by G20 countries to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, a pledge that has been repeatedly reiterated since then, including by G7 leaders in their June 2014 declaration.
The pace and scale of oil sands mining continues to increase in Alberta despite a poor understanding of the environmental liabilities: costs associated with the environmental impacts throughout the life of a mine. In Toxic Liability, the Pembina Institute has compiled the first public estimate of these liabilities.
Although the oil shale industry is still in its commercial infancy, it has a long history of government support that continues today. The Bureau of Land Management recently issued two new research, development, and demonstration leases and new federal regulations for commercial leases and royalty rates are expected any day. Before the federal government goes down that road it’s important to take a look back and ask whether we should be throwing good money after bad.
Tax and royalty-related subsidies to oil extraction from high cost fields: A study of Brazil, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom and the United States
Discussion of fiscal regimes for oil extraction have traditionally focused on the total charges of all sorts levied on a project (the "total government take"), and whether their level and structure optimised oil production and public revenues. Yet national, or global, policies to meet energy and environmental goals need to maximize benefits across complex energy and economic systems, not just specific projects. This study argues that there is a need to reframe the debate on how fiscal regimes - notably tax and royalties - to fossil-fuel extraction are evaluated. It further argues that su
In this report, we examine the net impact of the coal industry on the West Virginia state budget by compiling data on and estimating both the tax revenues and the expenditures attributable to the industry for Fiscal Year 2009: July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009. In calculating these estimates, there is an inherent degree of uncertainty associated with the results. We do not claim that our accounting of revenues and expenditures is precise; in fact, we round our estimates so as not to provide a false impression of precision.
Although coal has played an important historical role, the Tennessee coal industry now provides few jobs to state residents, and does not provide significant revenues to the state budget. In fact, as estimated in this report, the industry itself—together with its direct and indirect employees—actually cost Tennessee state taxpayers more than they provide. Our estimates provide an initial accounting of not only the industry’s benefits, but also its costs.
Rapid and dramatic changes in the world’s approach to energy have major implications for Kentucky and its coal industry. Concerns about climate change are driving policy that favors cleaner energy sources and increases the price of fossil fuels. The transition to sustainable forms of energy is becoming a major economic driver, and states are moving aggressively to develop, produce and install the energy technologies of the future. Long reliant on coal for jobs and electricity, Kentucky faces major challenges and difficult choices in the coming years.