During this morning’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources hearing on the Department of Interior’s budget request, Senator Steve Daines demanded answers from Interior Secretary Sally Jewell regarding the decision to place a moratorium on new coal leasing and for certainty in the Department’s plan.

“In Montana, we do see the moratorium on coal leasing as a direct assault on our state,” Daines stated. “Our state relies on production of coal, including federal coal, to support our state’s essential services. Coal production creates good-paying union and tribal jobs and affordable electricity prices. Yet, this administration seems committed to taking that lifeline away – combined with the EPA Power Plan, and now with this moratorium on the coal leasing program it’s creating a significant problem for Montana – in fact, a crisis.”

Last month, Daines blasted the Obama administration’s announcement to place a moratorium on new coal leasing on federal lands.