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As the new federal coal leasing program is implemented, the following complex issues must be considered: (1) how should a tradeoff analysis be performed when coal leasing goals conflict with environmental, socioeconomic, and economic goals; (2) who should pay the cost of achieving a balance among goals; and (3) can a less regulated private sector achieve timely, orderly, and efficient coal development without jeopardizing environmental and social concerns. The Department of the Interior has primary responsibility for leasing public coal lands, but the Department of Energy (DOE) is required to develop regulations related to the management of energy resources. Because of the split responsibility between Interior and DOE in the development of effective regulations related to the management of energy resources, the Leasing Liaison Committee was formed to assist in interagency coordination.

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