(Bloomberg Law) — Coal leasing is temporarily banned once again on public lands after a federal judge on Friday reinstated an Obama-era moratorium.
The ruling reinstates a 2016 order by then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell banning coal leasing on federal lands pending further environmental review because of coal’s contribution to climate change. That order was scrapped in 2017 by Ryan Zinke, the Trump administration’s first Interior secretary.
Judge Brian Morris of the US District Court for the District of Montana ruled Friday that a Bureau of Land Management environmental assessment of Zinke’s order was insufficient and violated the National Environmental Policy Act.
A more comprehensive environmental review of Zinke’s revokation of the coal leasing moratorium must be completed before the bureau can start coal leasing again, Morris ruled. Morris’ order reinstates Jewell’s coal leasing moratorium until the land bureau completes the review.
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