Why are U.S. taxpayers subsidizing coal mining?

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photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

The most important thing you can read this week is Joe Smyth’s post on federal coal leasing. I realize “federal coal leasing” is not a phrase to quicken the pulse, but it’s a Very Big Deal.

A couple of weeks ago, I explained
the situation the U.S. coal industry is in: domestic electricity use
has leveled off, utilities are switching to cheap natural gas and wind,
and the EPA is finally cracking down on dirty old coal plants. All that
leaves U.S. coal in a pinch. Their main hope for the future is to
increase coal exports. That’s why the fight over coal export terminals matters.

Arguably, though, the coal-export fight is secondary. From a climate-hawk point of view, it would be better just to leave the damn coal in the ground.

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