The U.S. Interior Department’s Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) has granted the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) request to set aside its decision to sell 200 acres of public land in Emery County, Utah to allow BLM to complete further environmental analyses consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act. This follows an IBLA order from March 2, 2020 granting separate petitions from WildEarth Guardians and the Sierra Club to halt BLM from proceeding with the sale while the board considered the merits of the two organizations’ appeals of the decision.
BLM first announced its proposal to sell the public land adjacent to PacifiCorp’s coal-fired Hunter Power Plant in November 2017, after PacifiCorp had identified development of a coal ash storage facility as a potential use for the land.
“This is welcome news. It was shocking that BLM wanted to sell 200 acres of public land next to a coal-fired power plant without analyzing the impacts of using the land to support the plant,” said Chris Krupp, Public Lands Guardian for WildEarth Guardians. “What BLM needs to evaluate going forward is whether it makes sense to sell off public land so PacifiCorp can extend the operating life of a coal plant. In 2020, selling public lands to contribute to even greater climate impacts is simply not in the public interest.”
Read the press release.