Climate & Energy Blog

Obama administration report affirms need to keep coal in the ground

Posted Jan. 11, 2017 / Posted by: Kate Colwell

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nearly one year after Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell called for a comprehensive review of the federal coal program, the Obama administration today released a roadmap for reform of the federal coal program. Coal combustion for electricity is the largest single contributor to climate disruption in the U.S., yet it has been over 30 years since the federal government comprehensively studied the environmental impact of the federal coal program. The roadmap calls for reform in three key areas: ensuring a fair return to Americans for the sale of their public coal; addressing the environmental and climate impacts of the federal coal program; and reforming the program in response to current market conditions, including assistance for communities experiencing declines in coal production.

Friends of the Earth Climate Campaigner Marissa Knodel issued the following response:

Today’s roadmap for reform of the federal coal program is a critical and important step towards addressing the significant impacts the federal coal program has on our climate, public health, and coal communities.

A safe climate future demands an end to new coal development and a just transition for coal communities to a clean, renewable energy-based economy. The roadmap acknowledges that federal coal production is a significant contributor to climate change, and that communities will need assistance with economic diversification.

To protect our climate, public lands, and coal workers, we cannot allow Trump and his fossil fuel cronies to reverse direction and expand federal coal production. Friends of the Earth and allies will fight to ensure that the factual findings and policy recommendations in today’s roadmap are used to phase out burning coal in the U.S. and jumpstart a just transition to renewable energy sources.


Expert contact: Marissa Knodel, (202) 222-0729,
Communications contact: Kate Colwell, (202) 222-0744,

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