BLM to hold listening session on coal Thursday in Farmington
FARMINGTON — Bureau of Land Management officials hope to hear from the public over proposed rule changes on how royalties from coal production are collected on Thursday.
The free "listening session" will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott, 560 Scott Ave. in Farmington. The event will also be broadcast live online at www.blm.gov/live.
Earlier this year, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell called for the meetings to inform the public about potential reforms — including possible increases in royalty rates charged to the industry — to the agency's federal coal program.
A series of five sessions began last month in Washington, D.C., including events held in Billings, Mont.; Gillette, Wyo.; and in Denver, Colo., yesterday. The series concludes in Farmington Thursday.
Roughly 40 percent of the coal produced in the U.S. comes from federal lands.
"I have heard many concerns about how the federal government leases coal, the amount of royalty charged and whether taxpayers are getting a fair return from public resources. These listening sessions are an opportunity to better understand how taxpayers, stakeholders and local communities perceive the federal government's coal program today and how we can improve and strengthen it for future generations," Jewell said in a statement.
People who would like to comment on the rule change at the meeting can speak for three minutes. Registration to speak begins at noon.
The public may also leave written comments with the BLM at the event or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sept. 17.