U.S. SENATE — Senator Steve Daines today pressed the Department of Interior on their proposed review of the coal leasing program and the unwarranted moratorium on coal leasing.
During this morning’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources hearing on the Department of Interior’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget request, Daines demanded answers from Interior Secretary Sally Jewell regarding the decision to place a moratorium on new coal leasing and for certainty in the Department’s plan.
“In Montana, we do see the moratorium on coal leasing as a direct assault on our state,” Daines stated. “Our state relies on production of coal, including federal coal, to support our state’s essential services. Coal production creates good-paying union and tribal jobs and affordable electricity prices. Yet, this administration seems committed to taking that lifeline away – combined with the EPA Power Plan, and now with this moratorium on the coal leasing program it’s creating a significant problem for Montana – in fact, a crisis.”
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Under Daines questioning, Jewell refused to commit to the three-year time period that her Department laid out to complete the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS).
During the hearing, Daines also worked to ensure that states and tribes are being heard in the PEIS process. Jewell promised Daines that the Department “will make sure” Montanans’ voices are heard.
Last month, Daines blasted the Obama administration’s announcement to place a moratorium on new coal leasing on federal lands.