South Porcupine

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South Porcupine is a proposed coal lease in the Powder River Basin near Wright, Wyoming, designed to increase the life of Peabody Energy's existing North Antelope Rochelle Mine. Peabody’s initial offer of $0.90 per ton was rejected as too low by the BLM, which held another auction a few weeks later and accepted Peabody’s offer of $1.11 per ton. In both auctions Peabody was the only bidder.[1]

History

On September 29, 2006, BTU Western Resources, Inc. (BTU), a subsidiary of Peabody Energy, filed an application with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for federal coal leases in three maintenance tracts encompassing over 5,000 acres and nearly 600 million tons of coal. The tracts are located adjacent to the North Antelope Rochelle Mine in Campbell County, Wyoming. The mine is operated by Powder River Coal, a subsidiary of Peabody.

On October 12, 2007, BTU filed a request with the BLM to modify its application and increase the lease area and coal volume to approximately nearly 9,000 acres and 1.2 million tons of coal. BLM determined that the application would be processed as two separate leasing tracts: North Porcupine Lease and South Porcupine Lease.[2]

Controversy

According to the BLM's Record of Decision for the South Porcupine lease, “the public interest is served by leasing the South Porcupine tract because doing so provides a reliable, continuous supply of stable and affordable energy for consumers throughout the country.” Yet as Greenpeace notes: "At a time when coal’s share of US electricity generation has dropped 19% in one year to just 36%, and Peabody’s CEO is touting plans to profit from 'the global coal supercycle,' ... how exactly is it in the 'best interests of the Nation' to sell coal that belongs to US taxpayers at a discount so Peabody can strip mine and ship it to Asia?"[3]

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