Regulators heard from all sorts of people, from firefighters to business owners to coal miners, at a meeting in Grand Junction, CO today on potential reforms to the federal coal program.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been gathering comments at similar public meetings all over the country. The government is reviewing management practices for federally-owned coal, most of which comes from Western states.
John Swartout, a senior adviser to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, was one of the first to speak at hte meeting in Grand Junction. He said that although discussions around coal are so polarized, the governor believes Colorado can have a coal industry and a clean environment.
"We all want to live on a healthy planet. We all want jobs. We all want that balance," Swartout said.
Regulators are considering raising or adjusting royalty rates, while factoring in climate change, and impacts on coal miners and coal communities.
The BLM is accepting written comments on the federal coal program until July 28th.