Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Trump administration ends Obama's coal-leasing freeze; enviros sue

The Interior Department on Wednesday officially rolled back a major Obama administration coal initiative. Secretary Ryan Zinke formally lifted the ban on new coal leasing on federal land, a policy shift that was one of the cornerstones of the climate and energy executive order that President Trump signed on Tuesday. Interior also suspended a review of federal coal-leasing rates that the Obama administration and environmental activists had touted as a win-win for the climate and for taxpayers. But Zinke said he is still committed to one of the basic goals of that review, which was establishing an Interior Department task force to consider raising royalty rates for coal mining. The order, while fulfilling a key campaign promise from Trump, generated swift opposition from environmentalists and public lands supporters, who immediately sued over the order lifting the coal-leasing moratorium. The groups say the in-depth study of the coal program was justified by science and by simple economic facts...more

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