9 Pages

Free Markets, States' Rights, and Federal Coal

WithDewitt John

This chapter addresses how free market ideas might be applied to the leasing of federal coal. It outlines legislative or administrative repeal of the Ventura decision which threatens to limit the power of state and local governments to manage the socioeconomic impacts of energy and mineral development. The Natural Resources Defense Council is concerned that the land use plans will not be adequate before leases are issued. They are concerned that there is not adequate protection for surface owners. They feel that the requirements for diligent development of the federal leases are too lax. They want the Bureau of Land Management to assess the environmental suitability of existing leases and preference rights to leases. In a free market, a stream of leases will come onto the market as individual sellers offer leases and make deals with individual buyers. Congress might require compliance with all "nondiscriminatory" state and local laws or only with state and local land use legislation.