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Sierra Club Calls for Powder River Basin Coal Designation

January 30, 2011

The Sierra Club urges you to tell the Department of the Interior to strengthen environmental protections in the Powder River Basin, one of America’s biggest coal-producing areas. Here’s the explanation from Mike Scott of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, complete with links that will allow you to speak up and take action:

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Take Action:
America’s Largest Coal Producing
Region Should Have Strong
Environmental Standards!

Take Action!

Dear Friend,

We’re giving Big Coal a blank check to destroy scenic public lands in Montana and Wyoming.

40% of America’s coal comes from the Powder River Basin area of Montana and Wyoming. Even so, the Department of the Interior (DOI) doesn’t consider the area a coal production region.

This gigantic loophole allows Big Coal to get approval for new coal mines without the stringent environmental review most coal mines face.

Don’t let Big Coal off the hook any longer. Urge the DOI to start treating the Powder River Basin for what it is — the largest coal production region in the country–and consider the environmental impacts of the dirty coal mined there.

The loophole also allows companies to effectively avoid competitive bidding for leases–taking money out of taxpayers’ pockets. If the Powder River Basin was considered a coal production region, Big Coal would likely end up having to pay its fair share to mine our public land.

Urge Secretary Salazar to ensure that America’s largest coal producing region has strong environmental standards!

Not only is the Powder River Basin the source of around 495 million tons of coal each year1, it’s also the source of 1/8 of our country’s global warming pollution. Because the DOI doesn’t consider the area a coal production region, the effects of this global warming pollution aren’t considered when new mines are proposed.

Within the next few days, Secretary Salazar will decide on a petition to designate the Powder River Basin as a coal production region. He could make his decision at any minute so it’s important that you take action today!

Tell Secretary Salazar it’s time to use some common sense and treat the Powder River Basin for what it is — the largest producer of dirty coal in the country.

Thanks for all you do to protect our environment!


Mike Scott
Beyond Coal Campaign
Sierra Club, Billings, MT


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