Federal Judge Puts the Brakes on BLM’s Coal Giveaway

This article discusses a recent court decision ruling that requires BLM to consider climate change in leasing decisions.

A coal-friendly Bureau of Land Management rewriting its plans for coal mining on public lands during what is easily the most coal-besotted administration in decades. Instead, U.S. District Court judge Brian Morris ordered Montana’s and Wyoming’s BLM officials to take their management plans back to the drawing board and factor in an element that they hadn’t bothered to include: climate change.

The ruling is a sign of the persistent legacy of the Obama administration—Morris is an Obama appointee, and the mandate to take climate change into account when managing public lands stems from Order no. 3289, a 2009 directive from another Obama appointee—former secretary of the interior Ken Salazar. The Salazar directive stated that “each bureau and office of the department must consider and analyze potential climate change impacts when undertaking long-range planning exercises, setting priorities for scientific research and investigations, developing multiyear management plans, and making major decisions regarding potential use of resources under the department’s purview.”


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