Thursday, March 30, 2017

The standoff between Trump and green groups just boiled into war

The first shots have been fired in what’s likely to be a long, bitter war over the environment between conservationists and President Donald Trump. It started Wednesday when a broad coalition of groups sued the Trump administration in federal court, barely 24 hours after the president signed an executive order that lifted a moratorium on new coal leases on federal land. Earthjustice, the Sierra Club, WildEarth Guardians, Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity and others call the directive illegal because it allows a massive area of land to be disrupted without any federally required study of the potential environmental impact. On Thursday, environmentalists also challenged the administration’s decision to move forward with the Keystone XL oil pipeline. This second federal suit claims the State Department relied on “an outdated and incomplete environmental impact statement” to comply with a 60-day decision deadline set by Trump. Environmental groups have been raising money and preparing to battle Trump since his election, and the fight over coal is expected to be the first of many. The president already has moved on a campaign promise to dismantle parts of the federal government, with recent proposals to dramatically cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Interior, the nation’s steward for public lands...more

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