Council on Economic Advisors Combine Taxpayer Losses With Climate Risk in Making Case for U.S. Coal-Lease Reform

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Zahra Hirji for InsideClimate News:The White House Council on Economic Advisers presented a report this week that its chairman, Jason Furman, called “a real strong case for reform” to the federal coal leasing program.The review, the first time that President Obama’s top economic advisers have weighed in on one of the most hotly contested issues on the climate policy agenda, found that reforms would both reward taxpayers and protect the climate.Furman called the coal leasing system “antiquated” and said it falls far short of offering a fair return to taxpayers. Furman unveiled the report and a panel of four outside experts then discussed CEA’s findings at a seminar hosted by the research nonprofit Resources for the Future on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.The report contains a sophisticated economic analysis that showed how increasing what the government charges companies in royalties for the coal they take from federal land not only raises revenue but reduces carbon emissions.To maximize taxpayer returns from coal leasing, CEA estimates that future royalty rates for new coal leases would have to go up to about 300 percent, compared to the rate often used today (less than 12.5 percent). This move would rake in billions of dollars for state and federal governments and reduce coal production on federal land by about 50 percent. The resulting climate impact would be big: a reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal combustion of 319 million metric tons annually.CEA’s report comes six months after the U.S. Department of the Interior launched its first review of the coal leasing program in about 30 years. The review follows several lawsuits by environmental groups such as WildEarth Guardians. They have challenged the Interior Department for not adequately accounting for coal’s climate impacts as it reviews applications for new leases and expansions to existing ones, among other issues. Additionally, several studies have come out including a 2013 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office raising questions about how federal officials estimate the fair market value of coal in the leasing operations.The CEA analysis took a sensible approach to handling climate change, offering an example for how to evaluate “good financing strategy of the coal industry” and simultaneously use “sound emissions policy,” said Tom Sanzillo, director of finance at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.White House: Raising Coal Royalties a Boon for Taxpayers, and for the Climate Council on Economic Advisors Combine Taxpayer Losses With Climate Risk in Making Case for U.S. Coal-Lease Reformlast_img