In the 76-page letter sent July 29 that also included 4,179 pages of attachments to back up his positions, Gov. Mead voiced his strong disagreement with the moratorium, which began on January 15, calling it an attempt by the Department of the Interior (DOI) to bypass Congress and impose a carbon tax. Moreover, he added, he and state regulators were not made aware of the plans.
“States like Wyoming, where coal is produced and environmental stewardship is a model for the nation, were not consulted and were caught by surprise,” Mead wrote in his letter. “Now, national revenues, energy users across the nation, coal miners and their families are at risk. The justification for this moratorium and the manner it was unveiled are unjustifiable.”
Mead noted that the moratorium will have a significant impact on jobs as well as the nation’s energy security and independence. He has also previously said the DOI should already know “the federal coal program is not broken” and that the moratorium “sets a course with no objective and no end.”
To put the issue in scope, Wyoming produces 40% of the nation’s total coal production; 80% of that stems from mining on federal land.
“The BLM needs to stop the PEIS (Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement), but at a minimum, it needs to commit in writing what it has promised repeatedly, that the PEIS will be completed by January 15, 2019, and, completed or not, that the moratorium will expire on that date,” Mead said. “I will continue to oppose the administration’s unjustified approach to coal.”
Mead’s letter is available to view in its entirety here.