Press Release

Government Watchdog Reveals Taxpayers “Shockingly” Shortchanged in Federal Coal Sales

WASHINGTON (February 4, 2014) – The following is a statement by Theo Spencer, senior advocate in the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Climate Center, on a new Government Accountability Office report showing major mishandling of federal sales of taxpayer coal on public land to private companies.

“The government’s chief watchdog makes this clear: Taxpayers are getting shockingly short-changed. The GAO report exposes how the Department of Interior doesn’t follow basic business principles or due diligence when selling billions of tons of taxpayer-owned coal. Given that an earlier federal report showed that when a ton of coal is undervalued by even a penny taxpayers lose out on $3 million, taxpayers’ losses in coal leases are substantial. With billions of tons of federal coal in line for lease to big coal companies, Interior needs to push the pause button on any further sales until this deeply flawed program is fixed.”

The GAO report released today, Coal Leasing: BLM Could Enhance Appraisal Process, More Explicitly Consider Coal Exports, and Provide More Public Information, is here:

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