As the third largest nation in the world, the United States has an abundance of natural resources, not to mention physical space. However, after two centuries of mining for coal and drilling for oil, the nation is running low on its reserves. And, with ever-increasing rates of global warming, the government must look to sustainable energy for the good of its people and the planet as a whole.
According to a study released by the Center for American Progress, coal is by far the federal government's top priority when it comes to utilizing public land for energy production.
As of 2011, just under 66 percent of the electricity derived from communal spaces came from coal, with natural gas and conventional hydroelectric methods trailing behind with 18 percent and 14 percent, respectively. Sustainable energy sources like solar and wind power both made up less than a tenth of a percent of the electricity produced from federal territory.
By using these areas primarily for coal combustion, the researchers argue that the U.S government is favoring "a dirty electricity resource that has been shown to have serious health and environmental impacts," and is in turn overlooking the potential that they offer for clean energy alternatives.
While the report compilers acknowledge that the Obama Administration has taken considerable steps to increase renewable energy production, even after the 29 new solar, wind, offshore and geothermal projects approved by the government last year are up and running, coal will still be the dominant resource.
In order to combat the effects of global warming, the researchers propose that the federal government sets a clean energy standard for public lands and waters, and that it no longer make concessions for coal mining companies using these regions.