There are multiple power sector models available to the Department of Interior (DOI)’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for analyzing the effect of current and alternative coal regulations and leasing policies during preparation of its programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS). This document lays out model selection criteria to assist BLM in weighing the benefits and costs of these available models, and offers recommendations for model selection, highlighting the tradeoff between model complexity and transparency.
Power Plants and the “War on Coal”
Since the beginning of the Obama Administration, conservative politicians have railed against the President’s “War on Coal.” As evidence of this supposed siege, they point to a series of rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency that aim to slash air pollution from the nation’s power sector. Because coal produces far more pollution than any other major energy source, these rules are expected to further reduce its already shrinking share of the electricity market in favor of cleaner options like natural gas and solar power. But the EPA’s policies are hardly the “unprecedented regulatory assault” that opponents make them out to be. Instead, they are merely the latest chapter in a multi-decade struggle to overcome a tragic flaw in our nation’s most important environmental law.
This summary document describes how the Department of the Interior can make strides in modernizing the federal coal program through straightforward royalty rate increases and fiscal reform.
How the Interior Department Can Use Economic Tools to Modernize the Federal Coal Program
This report analyzes the hidden costs of coal production, and suggests updates that the Department of the Interior could make to modernize the federal coal program and earn “fair market value” for taxpayers, as required by law.
The Social Costs of Coal Production and the Need for Fiscal Reform
Coal mining on federal lands accounts for more than 40 percent of all coal produced in the United States. But outdated policies, longstanding loopholes, and prevalent environmental externalities keep American taxpayers from receiving their fair share of value from federal coal leases.
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