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August 15, 2022

Judge Reinstates Ban On Coal Leasing On Federal Land

A federal judge has reinstated a 2016 ban on coal leasing on federal lands that had been overturned by the Trump administration.

In a ruling on August 12, Judge Brian Morris of the District of Montana ordered the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to reimpose the moratorium until the agency has conducted a more thorough environmental analysis.

The Obama administration had imposed a ban on coal leasing on federal land during its time in office, but during the Trump administration, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke reversed that order. This past January, the Biden administration rescinded Zinke’s ruling, but did not fully reimpose the moratorium.

According to The Hill, leasing of federal lands for coal mining accounted for about 40 percent of U.S. coal production in 2015 — a significant portion.

The effort to reinstate the ban was led by California’s attorney general who argued the last full environmental review of the coal program was completed in 1979, “when market conditions were dramatically different and climate change was not yet fully understood.”

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