Federal Court Overturns Ban on Coal Leasing from Obama Era

(LibertySons.org) – In 2016, the Obama administration announced a halt on new coal leases mined on federal lands. Now-former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell explained that the moratorium was so that the administration could re-examine the outdated coal-leasing program for impacts on people’s health and the environment. The following year, the Trump administration restarted coal leasing and halted reform, and a judge subsequently reversed that order in 2022. Recently, an appeals court weighed in on the matter.

On February 21, the Associated Press reported that the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands, as set by the Obama administration. While the move doesn’t immediately open up the land for coal mining, it could lead to a demand for new coal leases on federal lands. While the 2016 move didn’t stop coal mining from taking place, it did stunt expansions. The appeals court said the 2022 order rendered the matter before the court moot because the Interior Department, under President Joe Biden, had already reversed former President Donald Trump’s effort to halt the moratorium. As far as the appeals court was concerned, lease sales diminished, creating a “de facto moratorium,” so there was no longer an issue.

The National Mining Association (NMA) released a statement praising the ruling, calling it a “victory for American-mined energy.” The organization said projects can now start again to support the power grid, create jobs, and boost “economic development” across America. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) called the decision “good news for Wyoming and all Americans.”

The Sierra Club also released a statement, relaying a message from the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and other conservation groups. They were “disappointed” by the ruling, vowing to continue fighting to protect their “Reservation and its air and waters.” The groups called on the Biden administration to “step up” and “protect [the] climate” by reviewing the “federal coal leasing program” with an eye on the future.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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