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Arch Coal attacks reform of federal coal programme

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World Coal,

Arch Coal has spoken out against calls to reform the US federal coal programme, which determines the royalty to be paid on coal mined on federal land.

Speaking at a Department of Interior listening session in Colorado, Deck Slone, Arch Coal’s Senior Vice President of Strategy and Public Policy, defended the programme and urged the department to act with caution when thinking about reform.

“As the Government Accountability Office and the Department of Interior’s Inspector General has made clear, the federal coal programme is working and it’s working well,” said Slone. “In the past decade alone, the programme has generated roughly US$12 billion in revenues for the American people – revenues that have been put to work to build schools and fix roads and provide a wide range of criticial services.”

Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell recently launched a review of the coal programme citing concerns over the fairness of the system to taxpayers and climate change.

“What critics of the programme really mean, when they say that current payments aren’t enough, is that current payments aren’t enough to put the industry out of business,” Slone continued. “That’s the real goal – to make sure the coal stays in the ground. They don’t want a higher return for taxpayers, they want no return.”

In the Powder River Basin, where Arch Coal produces the vast majority of federal coal, the company pays royalties, taxes and fees totaling nearly 40% of the selling price of its product.

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