Description: Challenge to lifting of moratorium on federal coal leasing and cessation of programmatic environmental review of leasing program.
Citizens for Clean Energy v. U.S. Department of Interior
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 03/29/2017 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Lawsuit Filed Challenging Repeal of Federal Coal Leasing Moratorium. Seven environmental organizations and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe filed a lawsuit in the federal district court for the District of Montana challenging the Secretary of the Interior’s decisions to repeal the moratorium on federal coal leasing and to abandon an ongoing programmatic environmental review of the coal leasing program. The Obama administration imposed the moratorium and commenced the review in January 2016. The plaintiffs alleged that the Secretary of the Interior’s actions violated the National Environmental Policy Act because they would allow new coal leasing to occur without a review of the leasing program’s impacts, including climate impacts caused by the burning of coal. The complaint alleged that U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had completed the original programmatic environmental review of the leasing program in 1979 “at a time when the threat of climate change had not yet been fully realized or understood” and that BLM had never undertaken “a review of whether it can continue its coal leasing program and fulfill its climate commitments, as well as its land-stewardship obligations that are placed in jeopardy by a changing climate.” The plaintiffs contended that the repeal of the moratorium was a major federal action requiring a programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS) or, alternatively, that new information about climate change since 1979 required the preparation of a supplemental programmatic EIS.