"Salazar Opens 750M Tons of Wyo. Coal To Mining"

"CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced plans Tuesday to auction off vast coal reserves in Wyoming over the next five months, unleashing a significant but controversial power source amid uncertainty about clean and safe energy development.

The four coal leases next to existing strip mines in the Powder River Basin - the largest coal-producing region in the United States - total 758 million tons and will take between 10 and 20 years to mine.

Last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill raised questions about offshore oil drilling and the current Japanese nuclear power plant crisis has renewed concern about nuclear energy, but coal has its own baggage - especially when it comes to climate change."

Mead Gruver reports for the Associated Press March 22, 2011.

Source: AP, 03/23/2011