Putting a Chill on New Coal in the Powder River Basin

Crossposted with permission from WildEarth Guardians:

Last week, WildEarth Guardians filed suit to stop a horrendous climate catastrophe  from unfolding in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming: Four new coal leases that would expand the world’s largest coal mines, leading to the release of more than 3.5 billion metric tons of carbon pollution.

But as powerful as our legal efforts are, we need your help to reverse the disastrous course we’re on. Sign our petition today  calling on U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to put a freeze on new coal in the Powder River Basin.

It’s not just because coal kills. Our federal leasing program is a massive taxpayer giveaway, to the tune of billions of dollars to huge coal companies. Worse, horrible strip mining and lax reclamation has left the land scarred. But it’s the link to global warming that has us fired up.

In 2009, Salazar told the world, “Carbon pollution is putting our world—and our way of life—in peril.”

Unbelievably, since that time Salazar has overseen the most dramatic increase in coal production in U.S. history, with his Interior Department proposing 7 billion tons of new strip mining in the Powder River Basin, enough to fuel roughly 100 power plants for the next 100 years.

That’s not cool.

Already the largest coal producing region in the country, the Powder River Basin fuels hundreds of power plants, producing 13% of our nation’s carbon pollution. And increasingly, companies are not only taking billions from the taxpayers through cheap federal coal leases, but also shipping the coal overseas to Asia and Europe.

Salazar’s actions would lock us into decades of more coal and more carbon, putting, as he said himself, our world—and our way of life—in peril.

It’s a taxpayer ripoff and it comes at the expense of our land and our climate. It’s time put an end to this. It’s time to put a chill on new coal. Sign our petition today and demand that Secretary Salazar enact a moratorium on new leasing and mining in the Powder River Basin. the Tongue River is in the area of the Powder River Basin.

We can’t strip mine our way to a safe climate. And more than ever our planet needs a good freeze.

For the Wild,

Jeremy Nichols

Climate and Energy Program Director

WildEarth Guardians


Photo: Wikimedia Commons/ “This image is in the public domain because it contains materials that originally came from the United States Geological Survey, an agency of the United States Department of Interior.” / The Tongue River, a tributary of the Yellowstone River, in eastern Montana.

To visit the website of WildEarth Guardians, click here.


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