Biden Admin Targets Wyoming Coal Production With New Lease Ban

AP Photo/Mead Gruver, File

The Biden administration has once again drawn a bead on American energy production. This administration has, in fact, been the most unfriendly presidential administration towards the energy sector in history — and that's a history that includes the Obama administration.

This time it's coal. While its use has been slowly declining over the last couple of decades, in favor of cleaner-burning natural gas, it's still a vital part of America's energy-production picture. 

This makes the latest act by the Biden administration all the more baffling, as we learn now that they intend to ban any new leases in Wyoming's Powder River Basin.

Last Thursday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced the agency would halt additional leases to mine coal across the Powder River Basin, which runs through southeast Montana and northeast Wyoming and is the most productive stretch of coal reserves in the United States. The Washington Post described the administration’s move as the “biggest step yet to end coal mining.”

Larry Behrens, the spokesman for the energy nonprofit Power the Future, told The Federalist the agency’s decision illustrates a president who holds “nothing but contempt for affordable and reliable energy.”

“It’s also no surprise to see his environmental friends celebrate this terrible decision as their singular goal is to destroy private sector jobs in favor of more heavily subsidized energy failures,” Behrens said. “Every American should remember this decision next time the White House says they’re not responsible for high prices.” 

The Powder River Basin mines produce nearly half of the nation's coal. Winding down mining in the Basin puts a serious drag on America's affordable energy.

While the ban is on new leases, this will still have an impact on the overall American energy picture — in addition to costing the state of Wyoming millions in revenue and losing good-paying jobs for Wyoming residents.

See Related: China Increases Coal-Powered Generation Capacity by 47 Gigawatts in 2023: Climate Scolds Hardest Hit

G7 Nations Agree to Shut Down Coal Power Plants by 2035

This is another step in the Biden administration's pandering to climate scolds by implementing as much of the Green New Deal as they can by executive fiat. The problems are many: Coal-fired plants still produce around 20 percent of America's electricity. And Wyoming produces more coal than the next several states combined — including the Appalachian states that are known for coal mining.

The BLM press release announcing the ban noted that existing mines in the Powder River Basin will be "allowed" to remain open and producing.

According to an email press release from the BLM reported by the Montana Free Press, the federal land agency made clear existing coal producers will continue to operate on the Powder River Basin for decades.

“It said the Rosebud Mine, which supplies coal to the Colstrip power plant, could continue operating through 2035,” reported the Montana outlet. “The Spring Creek Mine, located near Decker and operated by the Navajo Transitional Energy Company, could continue operating through 2060, per the agency.”

Wyoming's Congressional delegation begs to differ.

“This decision to eviscerate Wyoming’s coal production will impact every American’s access to affordable and reliable energy, and only benefits the despots and dictators that this administration now relies on to meet our energy needs, while further weakening our economy and national security,” said Rep. Harriet Hageman.

Sen. Cynthia Lummis said she was “horrified” by the administration’s “latest assault on our nation’s domestic energy production.”

Our modern, technological society is not possible without energy — and will not prosper if energy is costly. Our continued lifestyle and economy depend on cheap, reliable energy — including electricity. Every one of these executive actions the Biden administration takes endangers the supply of cheap, reliable energy; it endangers our economy, national and personal, and it damages our standard of living, all to appease climate scolds who would rather we shiver in the dark while eating bugs.

And again, the Biden administration has made no moves towards the ultimate, high-energy-density solution to our energy needs, a solution that. by the way, emits no carbon at all — nuclear power.

Once again: November can't come soon enough.


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