A federal judge issued an order on August 12, 2022, that effectively reinstated an Obama-era coal leasing moratorium. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris is requiring government officials to conduct a new environmental review before they can resume coal sales from federal lands, according to the Associated Press. Former U.S. President Donald Trump repealed the ban, but Morris said that the administration failed to adequately consider the climate damage from coal’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Nearly one-half of U.S. coal production, approximately 260 million tons, was mined from federal lands in 2021. The ruling primarily affects mines operating in Wyoming, Montana, Utah and Colorado.
“We will be appealing this ruling,” said Rich Nolan, president and CEO of the National Mining Association. “This is a deeply disappointing decision with energy-driven inflation, energy affordability and energy security top concerns for Americans. Denying access to affordable, secure energy during an energy affordability crisis is deeply troubling. Americans need the energy affordability and energy security buttressed by coal production on federal lands and so do our allies struggling to transition away from Russian energy. The reimposition of this moratorium couldn’t come at a worse time.”