Environmentalists cheer ruling on coal
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.