Fifty conservation groups, including Guardians, are demanding the Trump administration restore its 2016 moratorium on coal leasing. Many of the groups are also condemning the administration’s efforts to justify reopening public lands to coal leasing on the basis of a rushed and error-riddled analysis.
In April, a court held that former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke illegally lifted the 2016 moratorium on the sale of publicly owned coal that was put in place by the Obama administration. The Bureau of Land Management then created a rushed plan—prepared in under five weeks!—to account for its plans for more leasing. Not only is the report full of shoddy science (for instance, BLM claims that pollution from recent coal leases is 100 times smaller than it actually is), but the Trump administration also gave the public only 12 business days to weigh in on it, and neglected to consult with Tribes or wildlife agencies.
The 2016 moratorium was originally proposed to give BLM time to update the federal coal program in a way that accounted for coal leasing’s impacts on climate and made sure Americans received a fair return from the sale of the coal. Such an orderly and just transition away from coal production on public lands is certainly preferable to the Trump administration’s hasty and unscientific actions this summer.
Read the press release.