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U.S. Energy Innovation (Part II: Coal Issues)

By Mary Hutzler -- February 7, 2013

“The technically recoverable coal resources in the United States are unsurpassed and total 50 percent of the world’s coal reserves. At 486 billion short tons, it can supply our country’s electricity demand for coal for almost 500 years at current usage rates.”

Coal produced on federal lands has decreased less than that of oil and natural gas. Coal production on federal and Indian lands peaked at 509 million short tons in fiscal year 2008 and has been decreasing slightly each year since then. In fiscal year 2011, coal sales from production on federal and Indian lands reached 470 million short tons, a 2-percent decrease from fiscal year 2010 and an 8-percent decrease since the peak in fiscal year 2008. [1]

At today’s prices, the value of the government’s estimated coal resources in the lower 48 states is $22.5 trillion for a total fossil fuel value on federal lands of $150.5 trillion.