Quantcast

Judge Rebukes Trump's Attack on Public Lands, Rules Coal Mining Push Illegal

Popular
Maria Gunnoe Flight, courtesy of southwings.org

By Julia Conley

Green groups on Saturday celebrated the latest federal ruling aimed at preventing President Donald Trump from rolling back environmental regulations that were put in place by his predecessor.


Judge Brian Morris issued a ruling late Friday stating that the Interior Department broke federal law when it lifted former President Barack Obama's moratorium on coal mining in public lands.

Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who resigned last December due to multiple ethics scandals, did not order adequate studies of the environmental impact of coal, Morris said. The Trump administration had claimed the plan was "a mere policy shift" in order to avoid having to order such reviews.

Morris refuted this claim, saying Trump had initiated a "major federal action" without taking the necessary precautions required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970.

The judge said he would hand down another ruling in the coming months on whether to reinstate Obama's 2016 moratorium.

"This is a victory for communities whose land, water, and way of life is threatened by new coal mining," said Jenny Harbine, an attorney with Earthjustice, who argued the case on behalf of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and several climate action groups. "It's time we put their health and safety ahead of coal industry interests."

The decision is just the latest defeat of Trump's efforts to roll back his predecessor's attempts to curb emissions from the coal industry and other fossil fuel businesses, ignoring public opinion and scientists who agree that fossil fuel extraction is contributing to the rapid warming of the planet.

About 40 rulings have now denied Trump the authority to follow through on his key energy plans, including his plan to sell fracking leases on public lands and his lifting of Obama's ban on oil and gas extraction in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans.

"The court held clearly that the Trump administration needs to rationally consider the consequences of its decision," said Harbine in a statement. "Those include dire impacts to clean water, public health and our climate."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

America's national bird is threatened by hunters. Not that hunters are taking aim at the iconic bald eagle, but bald eagles are dying after eating lead bullets, as CNN reported.

Read More
Bill Bader, owner of Bader Farms, and his wife Denise pose in front of the Rush Hudson Limbaugh Sr. United States Courthouse in Cape Girardeau, Missouri on Jan. 27, 2020. Johnathan Hettinger / Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

A jury in Missouri awarded a farmer $265 million in a lawsuit that claimed Bayer and BASF's weedkiller destroyed his peach orchard, as Reuters reported.

Read More
Sponsored
Earthjustice says Louisiana has violated the Clean Water Act and given Formosa Plastics Group the "greenlight to double toxic air pollution in St. James" (seen above). Louisiana Bucket Brigade

By Jessica Corbett

A coalition of local and national groups on Friday launched a legal challenge to a Louisiana state agency's decision to approve air permits for a $9.4 billion petrochemical complex that Taiwan-based Formosa Plastics Group plans to build in the region nationally known as "Cancer Alley."

Read More
Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. Bob Wick / BLM / onEarth

By Jeff Turrentine

Well, he told us he would do it. And now he's actually doing it — or at least trying to. Late last week, President Trump, via the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management, announced that he was formalizing his plan to develop lands that once belonged within the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in southern Utah. The former is a stunningly beautiful, ecologically fragile landscape that has played a crucial role in Native American culture in the Southwest for thousands of years; the latter, just as beautiful, is one of the richest and most important paleontological sites in North America.

Read More
Smoke pours from the exhaust pipes on a truck on Nov. 5, 2019 in Miami, Florida. According to a 2017 EPA study the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. is from the transportation sector. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Julie McNamara

First, a fact: People want clean air. And who can blame them — in the United States more than 100,000 people still die from air pollution each year.

Read More