Zinke: 'The war on coal is over'

Mar 29, 2017

Rail cars that normally would haul coal from the nearby mines near Colstrip sit empty.
Credit Jackie Yamanaka

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke today announced he lifted the moratorium on federal coal leases.   

The action came after President Donald Trump signed an executive order yesterday that included calling on a review of that moratorium.

“We can’t power the country on pixie dust and hope. Today, President Trump took bold and decisive action to end the War on Coal and put us on track for American energy independence,” said Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke in a news release. “American energy independence has three major benefits to the environment, economy, and national security.

Ryan Zinke in a YPR file photo during a campaign stoop when he was running for the U.S. House in 2014.
Credit Jackie Yamanaka

Zinke said during a conference call today with reporters the president’s actions are a bold stroke that favors both jobs and the environment.

"The war on coal is over and punitive regulation that was directed specifically against coal, we are looking at that,” said Zinke.

Zinke said his order directs the Bureau of Land Management to process coal applications expeditiously.

The former Montana Congressman said he did not know if the lifting of the moratorium would lead to a rush of lease applications. He said the action is to make the U.S. more energy independent.