Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Monday, April 23, 2018
Judicial Arrogance - An Obama judge declares war on mining because of climate change
A federal judge has ruled that the government must consider reducing mining in America’s top coal-producing region, to fight climate change. Moreover, he ordered the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to work with the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and four other environmental industry groups, to write a new management plan for the region.
Montana District Judge Brian Morris, a 2013 Obama appointee, has apparently relied on an entirely new body of law, discovering a previously unknown section of the Constitution. Like all federal judges, he swore an oath to perform his duties “impartially… under the Constitution and laws of the U.S.” Nothing in those documents gives Judge Morris authority to order the BLM to work with non-government organizations (the same ones that filed the lawsuit in question) to alter America’s use of energy.
I bet Judge Morris is a great dad — not the kind whose kids run wild, but a believer in tough love. In fact, in this era my own parents would both make terrific federal judges. Many times when we questioned the reason for their various decisions and rulings, their response was simply, “because I said so.” I read Judge Morris’s ruling in the coal case, and that is essentially the source of his extraordinary power to change our society.
Make no mistake about the change this ruling could mean if upheld by the higher courts. The Powder River Basin supplies 40 percent of America’s coal, and coal provides roughly a third of all electricity in the U.S. In Western States like Colorado, coal still provides over half our electricity. Coal remains America’s most abundant energy resource, and by far its cheapest, so the declining use of coal is driving up utility costs. The government projects monthly residential electric bills will more than double in the next 20 years. Yet the environmental industry plaintiffs that brought this suit against the BLM actually asked the judge to completely ban coal mining in that region. Their end game is easily understood. But what authority would a federal judge have to determine that coal could be mined elsewhere on other federal land, but not in that particular region? By the way, this case is not about environmental groups v. the Trump Administration. The plaintiff groups challenged plans for the region published in 2015 by the Obama Administration...MORE