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This paper describes the legal and policy rationale for imposing a fee on federal coal that reflects the costs of the climate change impacts generated by that coal. It notes that the federal government has a duty to mitigate climate impacts from the federal coal leasing program, and that the Department of Interior (“Interior”) and the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) have ample authority to impose a climate change impacts fee on coal leases as a form of compensatory mitigation for those coal leases. The paper also discusses technical issues that should be considered when assessing the effectiveness of this mitigation option, such as what metrics should be used to establish an appropriate fee and how a fee might work with carbon sequestration efforts and other emissions offsets. The paper was intended to inform the scope of the mitigation measures that Interior and BLM will consider in their programmatic environmental review of the federal coal leasing program, and was submitted directly to these federal agencies.


Environmental Law | Law