The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that in 2012, coal provided 37% of the utility-scale electricity generation in the U.S. In that year our Nation's coal mines produced more than a billion short tons of coal, and more than 81% of that was used by U.S. power plants to generate electricity. 442 million short tons of that coal, or about 42% of the total coal production in the Nation, came from Federal lands.
Federal Coal Leasing
The Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended, and the Mineral Leasing Act for Acquired Lands of 1947, as amended, gives the BLM responsibility for coal leasing on approximately 570 million acres of the 700 million acres of mineral estate that is owned by the Federal Government, where coal development is permissible. The surface estate of these lands could be controlled by the BLM, United States Forest Service, private landowners, state landowners, or other Federal agencies. The BLM works to ensure that the development of coal resources is done in an environmentally sound manner and is in the best interests of the Nation.
Regulations that govern the BLM's coal leasing program may be found in Title 43, Groups 3000 and 3400 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). This publication is available in law libraries and most large public libraries. The CFR is also available online from the Government Printing Office.
Additional information about the BLM's National Coal Program can be found at this website: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/energy/coal_and_non-energy.html.
For more information on energy development on BLM administered lands visit the National BLM's New Energy for America website: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/energy.html or BLM's home page website: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en.html.
Federal Coal Revenues
BLM receives revenues on coal leasing at three points:
- a bonus paid at the time BLM issues the lease
- an annual rental payment of $3.00 per acre or fraction thereof
- royalties paid on the value of the coal after it has been mined
The Department of the Interior and the state where the coal was mined share the revenues.
The Office of Natural Resources Revenues (ONRR) reported that the following coal revenues were collected by the U.S. Government in FY 2012: $560,597,984 in bonuses; $1,285,783 in rents; $875,955,120 in royalties; plus an additional $7,083,544 from other revenue categories.
For more information on energy revenues collected by the U.S. government visit the U.S. Department of Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenues' website at: http://statistics.onrr.gov/ReportTool.aspx.
Coal Leases on BLM-Administered Lands in OR/WA
BLM administers two Federal coal leases (OR-6527 and WA-04322) encompassing 521 acres at the TransAlta Centralia Coal Mine LLC (TCCM). This operation is located about six miles northeast of Centralia, Washington. TCCM is the Federal lease holder, and owner of this surface mine and adjacent power plant. The mine ceased production and began reclamation in 2006. Initial shutdown was related to slope stability problems, but Washington State has since passed legislation banning coal fired plants by 2025. Meanwhile, the company has initiated a project to recover fine-coal from a number of coal refuse settlement ponds at the site and it was approved by the U.S. Office of Surface Mining in February 2012. Mining of this fine-coal is expected to begin sometime in 2014. It will be used by the plant until it is converted to natural gas. The Federal Government will collect royalties from this coal.
Location information for the TCCM can be found on the "Non-Renewable Energy Projects of Washington" map at this website: http://www.blm.gov/or/energy.