Positioned in rural areas and often surrounded by federal land, our mountain communities are experiencing first hand the impacts and costs of climate change. From reduced snowpack and protracted droughts to increased flood risk and more severe wild fires, our communities and outdoor recreation economies are bearing the growing nancial costs of warming temperatures and more extreme weather events.

Unfortunately, however, the federal coal program does not take into account these growing costs. Greenhouse gas emissions from coal are a major contributor to climate change and failing to account for these costs in the federal coal leases shifts them onto taxpayers, who already receive an exceedingly low return on federal mineral resources. Coal production, transportation, and consumption result in large external financial costs. 

In order to ensure a fair return to taxpayers and improve economic efficiency, the royalty rate on coal should incorporate costs related to climate impact mitigation and adaptation.