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Introduction: Scope of the Federal Coal Leasing Program

What is the mission of the Bureau of Land Management?
The mission of the BLM is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

In what geographic areas does BLM lease coal?
BLM has responsibility for coal leasing on approximately 370 million acres where coal mineral estate is owned by the Federal government. The surface estate of these lands could be controlled by BLM, the National Forest Service, private land owners, or other federal agencies.

Are there revenues generated from leasing federal coal?
Yes, a bonus is paid at the time a lease is issued, rental payments are made to continue to hold the lease and royalties are paid on the value of the coal after it has been mined. The leasing and production of federal coal generated about $300 million in 1996 and $537 million in 2003.

How much coal is produced from federal coal leases?
As of the mid 1990's, federal coal lease production was about 330 million tons a year and had a value of about $2.9 billion a year. More than a third of the nation's coal production comes from federal coal leases.

How many federal coal leases are there?
Midway through 2003, approximately 315 federal coal leases were in effect, with 91 located in Wyoming.