States sue over Trump decision to restart coal lease program
States sue over Trump decision to restart coal lease program
CSX Transportation coal trains sit in a rail yard
10 May, 2017, 12:42
Washington and three other states want to block the Trump administration's decision to resume coal mining on federal lands.
The four states filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging a recent order by the U.S. Department of Interior that resumes coal leasing on federal lands, which had been suspended until a new environmental impact study could be completed.
The attorneys general of California, New Mexico, New York and Washington, all Democrats, said bringing back the federal coal lease program without an environmental review risks worsening the effects of climate change on those states while shortchanging them for the coal taken from public lands.
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Numerous trains come through Spokane on their way west.
The state also contends that coal mining, transportation and the burning of the coal by power plants and factories produce carbon pollution that contributes to global climate change.
The lawsuit contends Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, the Interior Department and the Bureau of Land Management "arbitrarily and capriciously" ordered coal leasing to resume on federal lands.
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The Obama administration blocked the sale of new leases in 2016 to conduct an environmental study and a review of the royalties that mining companies pay the US government for coal that's extracted.
"The lawsuit challenges Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's decision to restart the federal coal leasing program without supplementing or replacing its almost 40-year-old environmental study. That decision, Ferguson argues, violates the National Environmental Policy Act", the release added.
The attorneys general of Washington, California, New Mexico, and NY filed their lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Montana.
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