Which public lands are available for coal leasing?
Not all public lands are available for coal exploration or leasing. There is a rigorous land use planning process, through which all public lands are reviewed for potential coal leasing. The requirements for the land use plan include multiple use, sustained yield, protection of critical environmental areas, application of specific unsuitability criteria and coordination with other government agencies. Four specific land use planning criteria exist that are unique to potential coal lands. These are:
- Coal potential
- Criteria for lands unsuitable for coal development
- Multiple use considerations
- Surface owner consultation
The outcome of the land use planning process (43 CFR 3420.1-4) is to clear some, but not all, lands for further consideration for coal exploration or leasing.