Obama Era Judge Shuts Down Trump’s Attempt To Open Fed Lands to Coal Mining
Andrew Harnik / AP
Obama instated the policy in 2016 as part of his administration’s environmental agenda to cut coal usage.
Morris’ decision states that former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke did not consider the full environmental effects of overturning the coal mining ban and ordered the Department of the Interior to redo and expand environmental studies on the matter.
The DOI is looking into the court decision before taking further action, the Times reports.
“Federal Defendants’ decision not to initiate the [National Environmental Policy Act] process proves arbitrary and capricious,” Morris, who was nominated to the federal bench by Obama in 2013, wrote in his decision.
The next push to overturn Obama’s moratorium on selling coal mining leases for federal land will fall to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.
Bernhardt took charge of the DOI as acting secretary after Zinke left the department in January. The Senate confirmed Bernhardt’s nomination on April 11.
Trump campaigned on reviving America’s faltering coal industry to save jobs in the sector as well as promote U.S. energy independence from foreign sources.
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Environmental activists and Democrats have hampered the administration’s progress, claiming that emissions from the sector are worsening climate change and may do irreparable harm to the environment.
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