En­vi­ron­men­tal­ists cheer rul­ing on coal

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A court cast doubt Fri­day on a long-stand­ing U.S. gov­ern­ment ar­gu­ment that block­ing federal coal leas­ing won’t af­fect cli­mate change be­cause the coal could sim­ply be mined else­where.

The rul­ing by the 10th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals was wel­comed by en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists, who have been try­ing for years to block federal coal leases on cli­mate-change grounds with lim­ited suc­cess. The rul­ing will re­quire the U.S. Bureau of Land Man­age­ment to pro­vide more data to sup­port its ar­gu­ment that coal makes no net con­tri­bu­tion to cli­mate change after it’s burned in power plants. The bureau over­sees leas­ing of vast West­ern tracts that sup­ply much of the na­tion’s coal.

The Sierra Club and WildEarth Guardians sued to block four leases that would al­low min­ing to con­tinue at the Black Thun­der and North An­te­lope Rochelle mines, the two big­gest in the U.S. by pro­duc­tion. Both are in the Pow­der River Basin, where vast, open-pit mines sup­ply about 40 per­cent of the na­tion’s coal.

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