Obama administration to announce remake of coal program, freeze leases

Nick Browning enters a coal mine prior to the start of the afternoon shift at a coal mine near GilbertBy Patrick Rucker and Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration is due on Friday to announce an overhaul of how the United States manages coal development on federal land, and freeze new coal mining, according to government and conservationist sources, in a further move to confront climate change. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is expected to make the announcement at midday Friday from New Mexico, one of five western states with tens of thousands of acres under lease. Democratic President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address on Tuesday said he would “change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.” The new plan will require federal officials, when weighing land use decisions, to consider how burning coal could worsen climate change, said sources familiar with the plans.

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