Big coal and the federal leasing program

By Laurie Bennett

July 9, 2014 at 2:36pm

The federal government’s coal leasing program, overseen by the Bureau of Land Management, is derided by both Democrats and Republicans.

Last year, the bureau’s inspector general criticized the program for underpricing leases on national lands.

On Monday, the Nation accused the Obama administration of helping big coal, by enabling companies to mine cheaply, then encouraging sales overseas to countries such as China.

The program clearly benefits wealthy companies and individuals.

The interactive Muckety map above, showing beneficiaries of the leases, includes two billionaires - Warren Buffett and William Koch.

Pacificorp, a subsidiary of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, was awarded a lease on Utah acreage in 2006.

Oxbow Mining, a company controlled by Koch, brother of conservative billionaires David and Charles Koch, won a lease on more than 1,000 acres in Colorado in 1992.

Other major companies profiting from the leases include Peabody Energy Corporation, MDU Resources Group, NACCO Industries and BHP Billiton.

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