The President should use his executive powers under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to reject major projects under his jurisdiction that are determined to have significant impact on global emissions. By rejecting projects such as coal export terminals, liquid natural gas export facilities, and large international pipelines like Keystone XL, the United States would be setting a major precedent for other world leaders to take note of. Contracting global supplies of fossil fuels would eventually have the effect of reducing fossil fuel demand and promoting the switch to cleaner technologies
Fair valuation of our coal, oil, and gas resources on Federal Lands will ensure that damages from burning fossil fuels are accounted for and help to control supply. Each ton of coal extracted in the Powder River basin in 2012 sold for $1.11/ton, yet each ton of coal releases 1.87 metric tonnes of CO2. Using the Obama Administration’s value of the Social Cost of Carbon pollution released into the atmosphere ($33/tCO2e) each ton of coal is responsible for more than $60 in pollution, or more than 50 times the winning bid price in the recent auction at Powder River Basin. In absence of a Greenhouse Gas Fee, we urge President Obama to direct the Bureau of Land Management to include such environmental damages in estimating the “Fair Market Value” for all auctions of fossil fuels extracted on federal lands.