Rainforest Action Network response to Announcement on Coal Moratorium


CONTACT: Virali Modi-Parekh, virali@ran.org, 510-747-8476

Rainforest Action Network Response to Announcement on Coal Moratorium:

President Obama announced a moratorium on new coal leases on public lands today and to apply a climate test to the practice of coal mining. “This measure signifies a key step towards sunsetting a practice that has led to immense environmental destruction, human and health impacts, and is one of the greatest sources of carbon emissions worldwide,” says Amanda Starbuck, Climate and Energy Program Director at RAN. “We hope this moratorium is the first of many bold actions to come that will protect our climate and our communities for future generations from fossil fuel extraction on public lands.”

Coal companies have been despoiling shared natural resources for far too long, causing lifelong health problems for local communities, and irrevocable damage to critical ecosystems. Coal in particular is a shaky business proposition, where large players, including Arch Coal, have been declaring bankruptcy and leaving open the question of who will clean up their mess. This downturn for the coal industry necessitates the start of a new era focused on a just transition for coal-impacted communities, support for clean energy, and climate stability. While the President pauses new federal coal leases and reviews the environmental and climate impacts of this program, we hope this step will lead to the end of the era where dirty coal, oil and gas companies profit off America’s public lands.

This move by the President follows the tailwind of successful actions by climate activists across the country. The climate movement has stopped the Keystone XL pipeline, blocked public land lease auctions, forced cancellation of these public land giveaways, and continues to hold our political leaders and corporations accountable for keeping fossil fuels in the ground.