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Highlights

Serious problems which involve not leasing enough coal, not selecting the best coal areas for lease, and not having needed coal data are indicated in the Department of the Interior's lease sale in the Green River-Hams Fork region of Colorado and Wyoming. Unless these problems are corrected early, Federal lands may not contribute significantly to meeting the Nation's need for more coal. Because much of the Nation's most accessible and economically minable coal lies on Federal or interspersed non-Federal lands in the West, leasing policies hold an important key to whether this gap can and will be filled. Interior establishes coal leasing targets by considering the difference between its mine production estimates and the Department of Energy's (DOE) demand estimates to determine the amount of coal production that must be generated from new Federal leasing. Factors such as mine life, Federal/non-Federal coal ownership ratio, coal recovery ratio, and the level of uncertainty are all taken into consideration.

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