Statement: CAP’s Matt Lee-Ashley on the Interior Department’s Progress on Coal Reform on Public Lands

Washington, D.C. — Matt Lee-Ashley, Senior Fellow and Director of Public Lands at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s release today of its scoping report for a programmatic environmental impact statement for coal leasing on U.S. public lands:

The Interior Department is taking a giant step forward by formally affirming what so many Western communities already know: The federal coal program is broken. It cannot go forward without fundamental changes that deliver a fair return to local communities and account for the pollution and damage that a handful of coal companies have been causing. The next administration can and should shape the direction of these reforms, but it would be fiscally irresponsible and legally indefensible to try to abandon them altogether.

Related resource: A Market-Based Fix for the Federal Coal Program by Mary Ellen Kustin

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at or 202.481.7141.