The Obama administration announces plans to halt new coal mining leases on federal land until it completes a review of fees. The administration wants to ensure that those fees secure a fair price for the mining rights and that the fees charged reflect the environmental costs of coal mining and use. Coal mining companies at present pay a $3 fee for each acre of federal land leased and a royalty on the sale price of strip-mined coal. The rate was set in 1976. 40% of coal mined in the US is mined on federal land.
The Obama administration plans to reduce the racial segregation of neighborhoods using federal housing funds to make desirable neighborhoods more affordable for less affluent minorities. The Fair Housing Act enforces extant civil rights law on banning residential discrimination. Areas that fail to comply with the Housing Act will lose federal housing funds. Housing and Urban Development secretary:
A ZIP code should never prevent any person from reaching their aspirations. The fact is that federal efforts have often fallen short. We’re approaching this in a very collaborative spirit. Enforcement is always a last resort — it is there, it is possible, but our preference is to work cooperatively and steadfastly with communities.
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