Help Desk -
9717405332, 9599714297, 9810335381

Judge hands Mr Trump another setback, this time on coal leases on federal land - Report

Coal News - Published on Tue, 23 Apr 2019

Image Source:
The New York Times reported that Mr Donald Trump and his administration have lost in court about 40 times since they began reversing former President Barack Obama’s environmental policies. A judge on Friday handed Mr Trump yet another loss, this time over the administration’s efforts to lease coal on federal lands, which the Obama administration had halted via moratorium in 2016. US District Judge Mr Brian Morris in Montana said former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s implementation of an executive order issued by Mr Trump in March 2017 to renew coal leasing was illegal because Interior Department officials failed to conduct environmental reviews of the impact the policy shift would have.

Mr Morris in his ruling did not reinstate the Obama-era moratorium, but is expected to revisit that issue in coming months. The lawsuit was brought by several environmental groups and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.

Under the Obama administration, then Interior Sally Jewell issued Secretarial Order 3338 in January 2016, which blocked new coal leases until an environmental impact assessment and other reviews were completed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to determine a fair return to the public for the sale of coal on federal land, the climate change impact from federal coal leases, and the social and environmental consequences of the program.

The BLM manages 306 active federal coal leases in 10 states, which account for about 7.4 billion tons of recoverable coal. Over 40% of coal produced in the US comes from federal land, the judge noted. Most of that comes from the Powder River Basin shared by Montana and Wyoming.

In February, Interior Department officials announced they would sell coal leases on public lands in Utah, the Associated Press reported. A statement announcing that sale was titled, “The War on Coal is Over,” which also was a campaign promise Trump often repeated during his candidacy.

But the judge ruled that Zinke had violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires federal agencies to study the environmental consequences of their policy-making decisions. “The Zinke Order constituted a major federal action triggering NEPA review,” Morris wrote.

Jenny Harbine, an attorney for Earthjustice who argued the case, called the ruling “a victory for communities whose land, water, and way of life is threatened by new coal mining.” She added: “It’s time we put their health and safety ahead of coal industry interests.”

However, Morris noted that the “Court lacks the authority to compel Federal Defendants to prepare a PEIS [programmatic environment impact statement], or supplement to the PEIS, at this time. Plaintiffs’ remaining claims prove contingent upon Federal Defendants’ initiation of the NEPA process and subsequent conclusions.”

Source :

Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Tue, 23 Apr 2019
Related News from Coal segment