In January 2016 the US Secretary of the Interior announced a moratorium on new coal leasing on public lands pending completion of a comprehensive review. Nearly 90% of coal produced from public lands is from leases in the Powder River Basin (PRB) of Wyoming and Montana.
Leasing terms, royalties
Coal-burning power plants generate about half of the Nation’s electrical power. About 40 percent of the Nation’s coal comes from public lands. As a result, coal mining on public lands is a significant source of revenue to the U.S. Government, and significantly contributes to the Nation’s power supply.
Numerous energy subsidies exist in the U.S. tax code and have been there for up to a century. In certain cases the circumstances relevant at the time of implementation may no longer exist. Today, for example, the domestic fossil fuel industries (coal, oil, natural gas) are mature and highly profitable, and numerous other energy resources that do not create the negative health and environmental effects associated with the extraction and burning of fossil fuels are available.
During World War I, U.S. taxpayers provided the oil and gas industry with its first federal tax break. Over the decades, more lucrative tax breaks have been added. The latest major installment came with the passage of the 2005 Energy Policy Act, which included another $2.6 billion in subsidies for oil & gas companies. But it hasn’t stopped there. As recently as December of 2011, oil and gas companies received more subsidies. Each year the oil and gas industry takes advantage of tax breaks and other subsidies worth billions of dollars.
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