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Surprising rebuke to Donald Trump in Federal court decision on greenhouse gas emissions

A conservative-leaning court just issued a surprise ruling on climate change and coal mining

In a rebuke to Trump, the federal court said greenhouse gas emissions need to be considered in lease approvals. Vox by Late last week, a federal court knocked down plans to expand coal mining in the Western US, adding to a growing body of rulings against the Trump administration’s efforts to push climate change off the agenda.

The surprising decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, which has jurisdiction in Colorado, Kansas, Utah, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, told the Bureau of Land Management to redo its math on greenhouse gas emissions from coal leases and sent the approval of these leases back to a lower court.

Under the National Environmental Policy Act, federal agencies have to consider how a given proposal both affects climate change and is affected by climate change.

The 10th Circuit is the highest court to rule on climate change accounting so far, and its opinion undercuts President Donald Trump’s efforts to resuscitate the dying US coal industry.

“It’s reaffirming what a lot of people already knew: Government has to take a hard look at what their environmental impacts are,” said Sam Kalen, a law professor at the University of Wyoming. “Cases like this are sending signal that regardless of what the administration wants to do, the law says you have to take a look at these issues.”

In March, President Trump lifted President Barack Obama’s moratorium on coal leasing and stopped a comprehensive review of federal coal policy, with the goal of spurring more coal mining.

However, the courts are once again standing in the way of Trump’s agenda.

A massive coal mining expansion is at stake

At issue are four proposed leases in the Powder River Basin, a 14-million-acre region spanning Wyoming and Montana containing 40 percent of US coal deposits and responsible for 13 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Sierra Club, one of the groups joining the lawsuit against BLM………

 the coal industry as a whole is suffering from intense competition from other energy sources, and fighting for new mining rights doesn’t solve any of its root problems, like its cost relative to natural gas. So as these leases work their way through the courts, the market is likely to continue to be the much bigger threat to the future of coal.https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/9/19/16332952/court-ruling-coal-climate-change

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September 22, 2017 - Posted by | climate change, Legal, USA

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