UPDATE: The "auction" results are in!
On June 29th - BLM announced that Peabody won the rights to 721 million tons of taxpayer-owned coal for $1.10 per ton. According to the Institute for Energy Economics, that amounts to a one-day subsidy of $1.2 billion for the coal industry. If that coal is burned it will emit more carbon pollution than the annual emissions of 230 million cars. The BLM’s willingness to put coal industry profits over the health, safety, and future of this country is shocking.
Read more about this corrupt coal leasing scheme here.
Today, the Bureau of Land Management held an auction for a piece of land in Wyoming called the North Porcupine tract.
This stretch of land contains up to 721 million tons of publicly-owned coal – enough to fill 6.5 million rail cars.
And it may soon be in the hands of Peabody Energy for $1.10 per ton.
Earlier this week, over 20 organizations, including Greenpeace, WildEarth Guardians, the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth, signed a letter to Secretary Salazar calling for the suspension of today’s auction. The process is currently being investigated by the Government Accountability Office and the Department of Interior's own Inspector General.
Yet, today, business proceeded as usual. Peabody was the sole bidder, placing an outrageously low offer of $1.10/ton for coal they are attempting to sell overseas for as much as $122/ton. For a coal company looking to make big profits, the BLM’s coal leasing scheme is truly the deal of a lifetime - as long as American taxpayers are willing to get the short end of the stick.
To draw attention to the corrupt leasing scheme, activists in Cheyenne, WY and Washington, DC held mock “coal fire sales” outside BLM and Dept of Interior offices, complete with red, white and blue bunting, inflatable “airdancers,” and banners reading, “Coal sale today! Public lands, dirt cheap!” and “No coal company refused.” Salesmen yelled slogans to passing employees.
Meanwhile, citizens entered the BLM office in Cheyenne to bear witness to this corrupt auction. In the coming days, we will learn if BLM accepts Peabody's bid, subsidizing the coal industry's attempts to export their toxic rocks overseas.
With our future at stake, BLM has no place auctioning off publicly-owned coal for such "low low low prices!!!"
Stay tuned for more updates...