Governor Matt Mead is asking the White House's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to scrap draft guidance regarding consideration of climate change in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis. In a letter to the Chair of the CEQ Governor Mead takes issue with a letter drafted by two other Governors, which targets coal.
"I am respectful of the opinions of these fellow Governors, but I disagree with them on the potential misuse of the National Environmental Policy Act with respect to coal leasing and exports," Governor Mead said. "Coal will provide electricity across the globe in the coming years and I believe these export facilities will power economic growth here in America. I support a thorough site-specific environmental and economic analysis of these projects. I support addressing all of the concerns and questions raised by the citizens of Oregon and Washington. However, I do not support the novel use of NEPA as a political opinion piece on global climate change."
Governor Mead's letter is in response to a letter from Oregon Governor Kitzhaber and Washington Governor Inslee to the CEQ on March 25, 2013. Governor Mead's letter states, "I note that Governor Kitzhaber's and Governor Inslee's letter does not mention northwest commodities -- like lumber -- for climate change analysis under NEPA; rather, their letter targets one commodity -- coal -- and the producers, transporters, and workers who deal with it. This undermines the fundamental fairness of the process and potentially sets U.S. regions, states and resources at odds with each other."
The Washington and Oregon Governors also called for "proper policies for pricing coal leases from federal lands " Governor Mead points out that in 2011 the Director of the BLM stated that evidence demonstrates the BLM's practice has ensured fair market values are received for leases. Governor Mead wrote, "With all due respect, the CEQ should neither be determining policies for pricing federal coal leases nor establishing new policies for the issuing of coal leases based on a global climate change analysis."
Governor Mead said. "Coal is the fastest growing fuel source in the world and 40 percent of the electricity in this country comes from coal. I welcome an environmental analysis that is legally consistent, based in science and also provides a fair opportunity for American coal to compete with coal around the globe."