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BLM Proposes Amendment to Buffalo Field Office Management Plan

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The Bureau of Land Management has issued a final supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) and proposed amendment to its Buffalo Field Office land use plan. Release of the final SEIS and proposed amendment opens a 30-day public protest period. The BLM developed the SEIS and plan amendment in response to a 2022 order from the United States District Court for the District of Montana. The BLM’s proposed alternative, Alternative A, would amend the 2015 Buffalo Field Office resource management plan and make BLM-managed coal resources in the planning areas unavailable for future leasing. Federal coal production is anticipated to continue through 2041 under existing leases.

As required by the court’s order, the supplemental analysis evaluates alternatives for federal coal leasing in the Buffalo Field Office and includes updated information and analysis regarding the health impacts, both climate and non-climate, of developing fossil fuels in the area. The 12 active surface coal mines within the Buffalo Field Office produced approximately 220 million short tons of federal coal in 2022, down from roughly 400 million tons in 2008.

Both U.S. total coal production and Powder River Basin coal production peaked in 2008 and have since declined steeply, according to the Energy Information Administration. Written protests must be received by June 17, 2024. Please visit the BLM Filing a Plan Protest page for instructions.  To review the proposed resource management plan amendment and associated analysis, visit the BLM National NEPA Register.

WY Delegation Blasts BLM Wyoming Coal Ban

U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis and Rep. Harriet Hageman, all R-Wyo., blasted the Bureau of Land Management’s final supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) and proposed amendment to its Buffalo Field Office land use plan. In the plan, the BLM bans future coal leasing in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. This impacts 12 of Wyoming’s
active coal mines and will put 48 billion short-tons of BLM-administered federal coal off limits for mining.

“President Biden continues to wage war on Wyoming’s coal communities and families,” said Senator Barrasso. “This short-sighted plan will kill future coal leases in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin – the most energy-rich area in the country. This will kill jobs and could cost Wyoming hundreds of millions of dollars used to pay for public schools, roads, and other essential services in our communities.

Cutting off access to our strongest resources surrenders America’s greatest economic advantages – to continue producing affordable, abundant, and reliable American energy.” “I am horrified to see the Biden administration’s latest assault on our nation’s domestic energy production,” said Senator Lummis. “Wyoming has been targeted left and right by rule after rule handed down by this administration as it works to cater to the extremists within the Democratic Party.

The Cowboy State produces some of the cleanest and best coal in the world. This RMP will push our country to rely on foreign adversaries for energy needs at a time when our grid is pushed to the brim and Wyoming coal is needed now more than ever to power our nation and the world. I will work with my colleagues every step of the way to prevent this RMP from going into effect.”

“Joe Biden’s war on the West continues, this time by enacting an RMP that will destroy the Wyoming coal industry,” said Representative Hageman. “This decision to eviscerate Wyoming’s coal production will impact every American’s access to affordable and reliable energy, and only benefits the despots and dictators that this administration now relies on to meet our energy needs, while further weakening our economy and national security.

At the same time, it will result in the need to increase coal production in countries with poor environmental and labor standards, thereby causing even more world-wide pollution – the total opposite of what this failed administration claims to be trying to accomplish. The Biden Administration’s war on affordable and reliable energy won’t end until we end his presidency.”

Governor Gordon Outraged by BLM’s No Coal Leasing Selection in the Powder River Basin

Governor Mark Gordon responded forcefully to an announcement by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that it had selected the “No Leasing” alternative in its Buffalo Coal Resource Management Plan Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). The BLM’s choice means it is all but determined that coal leasing in the Powder River Basin will not be permitted past 2041. The Governor’s statement follows:

“With this latest barrage in President Joe Biden’s ongoing attack on Wyoming’s coal country and all who depend upon it, he has demonstrated his lack of regard for the environment, for working people, and for reliable, dispatchable energy. This decision, compounded by the recent EPA rules, ensures President Biden’s legacy will be about blackouts and energy poverty for Wyoming’s citizens and beyond. 

All the cards are on the table now. At the highest levels the Biden Administration – including Interior Secretary Haaland – have shown a complete disregard for blue-collar workers and their families; local communities and neighborhood businesses; the aspirations of  local governments and economic development entities; university scientists and others diligently working on viable solutions to climate concerns; as well as the livelihoods of power plant employees and anyone who relies on dependable, affordable, and attainable electricity. 

This SEIS is not about making a well-informed decision. It is about Joe Biden’s partisan, vindictive, and politically motivated war on America’s abundant, cheap, efficient, and consistent energy sources – one that holds practical and achievable goals to remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. This administration touts its preference for “best available science” yet only chooses to highlight the science that advances their job- and career-killing agenda.

As Governor, I am profoundly disappointed that our nation’s highest executive leadership has chosen to ignore innovation and opportunity to grovel at the feet of coastal elites. I promise that the State of Wyoming will fully utilize the opportunities available to kill or modify this Record of Decision before it is signed and final. The issues we face globally right now are too important and too urgent to dither away with incoherent policies and wrongheaded initiatives. As with the other attacks on Wyoming’s fossil fuel industries, the Attorney General is actively pursuing options to challenge these destructive decisions.”

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