Front Porch Blog

Report Shows Coal Industry Still Massively Subsidised by the Federal Government

By Julie Johnson
An energetic supporter of initiatives that foster a positive future, Julie worked with Appalachian Voices from 2009-2011, first as a Communications Intern, then as Distribution Manager and freelance feature writer for The Appalachian Voice.

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The signs are clear; coal is simply not a good investment.
-Tom Sanzillo, report author

Billions of tax-payer dollars are funding the coal industry, according to an April 13 report from Synapse Energy Economics. The authors of “Phasing Out Federal Subsidies for Coal” call for G-20 countries, including the U.S., to provide lists of subsidies to be phased out by the end of June.

The report identifies four major areas of financial support that the federal government provides the coal industry. These include the financing of the World Bank and other financial institutions that fund coal companies, the U.S. Treasury backing of tax-exempt bonds for energy and electric sectors, U.S. Department of Agriculture loans and lein accommodations to power companies building new, coal-fired plants, and U.S. Department of Energy loans and tax credits.

“Investments in coal not only set us back in achieving a clean energy economy; they also put taxpayer dollars at risk,” says Tom Sanzillo, one of the report authors and former First Deputy Comptroller for the State of New York. The authors urge the federal government to adopt the necessary changes needed to move the nation towards a clean energy future. The report concludes “As regulatory policy changes, as financial circumstances change, so must the administrative financial policies of the federal government.”




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