U.S. energy policies prop up coal consumption in a variety of ways, some clear and some less so. For example, the Bureau of Land Management has lately come in for a drubbing for leasing public lands to coal mining companies at comically low rates, and to the detriment of taxpayers.
Official bullishness on coal extends to other government agencies too, such as the Department of Energy, which produces the nation’s energy forecasts. If you sift through the new coal projections in the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2012, you’ll find something rather curious: The U.S. government has a more favorable outlook for coal than virtually any other major forecasting institution.
Take a look at U.S. projections for coal exports, and you’ll see that they are more aggressive than any other major forecast*: