Today the Obama administration’s Bureau of Land Management will hold the first of two major coal lease sales over the next month from public lands in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. Combined, they will allow the extraction of almost 316 million tons of taxpayer-owned coal that, when burned, will result in significant carbon pollution. The second sale is scheduled for September 18.
Burning this coal will release 523,524,951 tons of carbon dioxide into the air, according to a Climate Progress analysis using BLM’s environmental analyses and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. This is equivalent to the emissions from nearly 109 million passenger vehicles every year. For comparison, there are approximately 253 million vehicles in the U.S.