Senators: Make coal prices reflect environmental costs

By:  Hal Bernton
Source: Seattle Times

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and seven other Senate Democrats on Monday sent a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to request that the federal coal program reflect the costs of carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.

Cantwell is the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the letter comes as the Interior Department is undertaking a review of the federal coal program, which produces about 40 percent of the nation’s coal.

The senators’ letter expressed concern that the Obama administration lacks a plan to address the negative impacts of federal coal.

“Until the market price for coal reflects its true cost to society, taxpayers will continue to bear the costs of more extreme weather, collapsed ecosystems, stranded infrastructure, increased incidences of heart and lung disease, and other effects of climate changes,” the letter stated.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is among the other senators who signed the letter.