Circular Firing Squad in Anti-Coal Lawsuit

Environmentalists, an Indian tribe and some states sue the Trump Administration over it’s allowing coal production on federal lands. When blocked by an Obama-appointed federal district judge, Judge Brian Morris, the magistrate said the government did not perform a proper analysis. Then, when the Administration fixes the issues cited by Judge Morris, he rules on the side of the government but admits he didn’t evaluate the Trump Administration’s findings. The anti-coal side then accuses the federal government of conducting an inadequate assessment. Who needs the drama of fake news, when the Trump Administration has the deck stacked against them when they’re up against the Left in court?

States, Environmentalists Sue Feds Over Planned Coal Leases

Carson McCullough, July 20, 2020, Courthouse News Service

(CN) — A large coalition of states, environmental organizations and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe have filed fresh challenges against the Trump administration’s decision to open millions of acres of public lands up for new coal leasing and mining.

Environmentalists including the Citizens for Clean Energy, Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club sued the U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management as part of an ongoing dispute that began in 2017 over the government’s decision to open up public lands to coal leasing. California, Washington state, New Mexico and New York took similar action Monday as well.

The dispute stems from a decision by then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke who, acting under an executive order signed by President Trump, lifted a moratorium on coal leasing on public lands enacted by the Obama administration. The Zinke order, issued just over two months into Trump’s presidency in March 2017, claimed that “the public interest is not served by halting the federal coal program for an extended time.”

Environmentalists and others say the government lifted the Obama-era pause without preparing the required environmental impact statement on how the decision would influence the environment, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The dispute ultimately came to a head in 2019, when U.S. District Judge Brian Morris, a Barack Obama appointee, found that the government had failed to carry out a proper analysis. In response, the Trump administration promised to fix the issues outlined by the judge.