U.S. taxpayers poised to subsidize Asian coal demand
Reuters, October 18, 2012.
Asian economies, hungry for coal, stand to gain from a U.S. program meant to keep domestic power cheap and abundant.
At issue is how much miners pay the government to tap the coal-rich Powder River Basin in eastern Montana and Wyoming. Much of the basin is on federal land.
Selling that coal cheap at a time of increasing exports across the Pacific could amount to a U.S. taxpayer subsidy for industrial rivals like China.
Government auditors have long faulted lax oversight of the coal lease program, saying miners have too much sway. Officials have defended the system, saying their approach is the right one to help utilize a region that provides a large share of the country’s power.
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