Problems associated with the Department of the Interior's coal mapping program as it would effect the future leasing of coal from Federal lands are reviewed, recent actions to correct mapping problems are analyzed, and alternatives to better link coal mapping and land use planning are discussed.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of the Interior||1. The Secretary of the Interior should better link Interior's land use planning and mapping/drilling programs and more efficiently use its in-house capability to concentrate on areas of highest interest and potential for coal leasing. To accomplish this, the Secretary should publish in the Federal Register a notice of the U.S. Geological Survey's mapping and drilling plans at the same time as the Bureau of Land Management gives public notice and requests comments on its schedule for land use planning; thus providing an appropriate time for coal companies, State governments, and the public to submit comments for use by the Survey in refining its exploration and mapping priorities. The Secretary should also establish a sufficient mapping capability in house, including funding for drilling, to (1) revise and improve the quality of needed Coal Resource Occurrence/Coal Development Potential maps; and (2) assure the linking of future mapping and drilling efforts with the Bureau's land use planning. Additionally, the Secretary should request nonconfidential coal and economic information from coal companies, State governments, and the public at the time the Bureau gives public notice on the preparation or revision of land use plans in particular areas. This notice should include (1) specific criteria to guide coal companies, State governments, and the public in submitting coal information, and (2) procedures for how and when such information will be applied in land use planning, including qualitative and quantitative criteria to be used in making tradeoff decisions.|