Governor Matt Mead and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar
OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437
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Audio, a Photo and More Information from Today’s Announcement
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead made the following statement at today’s announcement from Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar about four new coal leases in the Powder River Basin.
“Energy absolutely is critical to this state but it is absolutely critical to our country in particular during these times when we are coming out of what is now called the Great Recession. We need the energy, we need the jobs that come with energy, we need the electricity because as we talk about how energy affects us too often we just limit it to the jobs it produces or the money it may produce for a state, but the fact is there is a strong correlation between energy production and quality of life for the people of this country.”
Here are some other details about this announcement from the Department of the Interior:
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will hold four competitive lease sales in coming months, offering Powder River Basin tracts in Wyoming that contain an estimated 758 million tons of low sulfur coal. The total bonus bids and royalty payments over the life of these leases are estimated to generate $13.4 to $21.3 billion, 48 percent of which would go to the State of Wyoming.
The four sales, responding to Lease by Application (LBA) filings from companies to continue efficient operations and production from existing Powder River Basin coal mines, will be held in Cheyenne in a sealed bid process.
In total, the four tracts cover 7,441.25 acres containing an estimated 758 million tons of mineable coal. The federal share of bonus bids and royalty payments from these leases, 52 percent, would go to the U.S. Treasury. These LBA sales are the first of more than a dozen that BLM expects to hold for Powder River Basin coal tracts over the next three years.
In addition, in coming months BLM expects to announce the availability of records of decision for the South Porcupine, North Porcupine, North Hilight and West Hilight coal sale tracts in the Wyoming portion of the Powder River Basin. Combined, these tracts cover 13,965.75 acres containing an estimated 1.6 billion tons of mineable coal.
The Powder River Basin is the largest regional producer of coal in the United States. In the Wyoming portion of the Basin, there are 13 active coal mines that produced about 428 million tons in 2010, while production from all coal mines in the state totaled 442.5 million tons last year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration. Total coal production in the United States in 2009 was about 1.1 billion tons.
The Basin’s coal contains 15 times less sulfur that eastern coal, so it burns relatively cleaner, releasing fewer greenhouse emissions. That has made it a top choice to use in coal-burning power plants, which generate about half of the Nation’s electricity. Wyoming's cleaner-burning, low-sulfur coal provides nearly 40 percent of the coal used in these plants.
Last fiscal year, federal coal royalties in the Basin generated $598 million, which was shared with the State of Wyoming. The state’s coal industry employs about 7,000 workers, each of which supports three related jobs in the private sector.
The anticipated sale dates of the four tracts announced today are:
May 11 -- West Antelope II North Coal Tract, a 2,837.63 acre area containing an estimated 350 million tons of mineable coal; offered in response to a LBA filed by Antelope Coal LLC.
June 15 -- West Antelope II South Coal Tract, a 1,908.6 acre area containing an estimated 56 million tons; offered in response to an LBA filed by Antelope Coal LLC.
July 13 -- Belle Ayr North Coal Tract, a 1,671.03 acre area containing an estimated 222 million tons; offered in response to an LBA filed by Alpha Coal West.
August 17 -- Caballo West Coal Tract, a 1,023.99 acre area containing an estimated 130million tons; offered in response to an LBA filed by Caballo Coal Company.