The Interior Department on Tuesday rolled out plans to allow expanded coal production on federal lands in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, marking the second time in two days the agency has touted its actions to expand domestic fossil-fuel development.
Tuesday’s announcement comes on the same day that Interior approved another deepwater oil-and-gas drilling permit and follows Monday’s decision to green-light a Shell Oil deepwater exploration plan.
As Ben Geman and Andrew Restuccia of The Hill reported today, the Obama administration is seeking to highlight its commitment to U.S. energy production at a time when allegations of undue restrictions have become a pillar of GOP political messaging.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, in announcing the coal plan Tuesday, touted the need for an “all-of-the-above” energy approach — the same phrasing Republicans employ when calling for more oil, gas, nuclear, coal and renewables development.
“There’s no place in the country that captures this all-of-the-above approach quite like Wyoming,” Salazar told reporters on a conference call, noting oil-and-gas development in the state as well as its major coal production.
Interior said Tuesday it would hold four coal lease sales — covering 7,441 acres — over four months, beginning in May, and offer tracts estimated to contain 758 million tons of low-sulfur coal. The department estimates the lease bids and royalties will generate between $13.4 billion and $21.3 billion over the life of the leases, of which nearly half would flow to the state.