By Stephen Lacey on Jun 25, 2012 at 4:18 pm
Most Americans don’t realize just how much coal they own.
Consider this: coal accounts for two thirds of resources extracted from public lands for electricity generation. And Americans also own most of the Powder River Basin, a region stretching across Wyoming and Montana that accounts for roughly 43 percent of America’s coal.
With all that coal being the property of U.S. citizens, you’d think the taxpayers were getting a lot of revenue from selling that resource to the coal companies. Not so much.
A new report concludes that uncompetitive leasing and poor oversight has denied Americans taxpayers of up to $28.9 billion since 1982.
According to an analysis from Tom Sanzillo, director of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, the government allows coal companies operating on public lands to purchase the resource at a price far below market value by supporting “auctions” with only one bidder.
This is a problem that environmental groups have raised for some time.