No Review Of Federal Coal Leasing Program, Following Court Case

Jun 22, 2018

Western Organization of Resource Councils logo
Credit Western Organization of Resource Councils

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decided not to reassess the federal coal leasing program in a decision this week. 

Two environmental groups, the Western Organization of Resource Councils and Friends of the Earth, argued the coal leasing program is based off an outdated environmental impact statement. It was done in 1979 before the impact of greenhouse gases on climate change were well known.

The court sympathized with environmentalists, but found there was no new action from the Interior Department to necessitate a change. Bob LeResche, board member of the Western Organization of Resource Councils said he disagreed with that.

“We think that given so much new information and so much slippage in BLM’s control did constitute a new action, but the court disagreed,” LeResche said.

During the Obama Administration, the Interior Department called for a new environmental impact statement that would consider climate impacts. That was ended under the Trump administration. LeResche said steps forward are still under discussion.