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 09/19/2018 Memorandum Download Intervenor-defendants Wyoming and Montana filed joint memorandum in support of cross-motion for summary judgment and response to plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. 09/07/2018 Memorandum Download Memorandum filed by federal defendants in support of their cross-motion for summary judgment and opposing plaintiffs' motions for summary judgment. 08/03/2018 Amicus Brief Download Amicus brief filed on behalf of Professor Michael Greenstone. An economist who is a former co-head of the federal Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases submitted an amicus brief to assist the court in determining whether significant new scientific information justifies requiring supplemental environmental review of the coal leasing program and whether the decision to revoke Secretary Jewell’s order was a major federal action that could significantly affect the environment. 07/27/2018 Brief Download Opening brief filed by conservation groups and Northern Cheyenne Tribe in support of plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. Plaintiffs Sought Summary Judgment in Challenges to Resumption of Federal Coal Leasing Program. States, conservation groups, and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe filed motions for summary judgment in their lawsuits challenging the Trump administration’s resumption of the federal coal leasing program and its termination of the programmatic environmental impact review of the program. In March 2017, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke issued Secretarial Order 3348, which revoked Secretarial Order 3338, issued by former Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell in January 2016. Secretary Jewell’s order commenced the process for the programmatic review and put in place a moratorium on new federal coal leases. The plaintiffs argued that Secretary Zinke’s order was a “major federal action” that required consideration of potential environmental impacts, including climate impacts, under NEPA. The states also argued that the defendants had violated the Mineral Leasing Act, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to provide an reasoned explanation for the reversal of the defendants’ prior position that comprehensive review of the federal program was necessary. The conservation groups and Northern Cheyenne Tribe argued that the order violated NEPA by failing to consider impacts to the Tribe and also argued that the defendants violated their trust obligation to the Tribe. The federal defendants’ response and cross-motion for summary judgment is due on September 7. 07/27/2018 Brief Download Brief filed by state plaintiffs in support of motion for summary judgment 02/21/2018 Reply Download Reply filed by federal defendants in support of motion for partial reconsideration of order requiring supplementation of the administrative record. 02/07/2018 Brief Download Brief submitted by plaintiffs in opposition to motion for reconsideration. 01/24/2018 Motion Download Motion filed by federal defendants for reconsideration of order requiring supplementation of the administrative record. 12/01/2017 Amicus Motion Download Motion for leave to file amicus curiae brief in support of plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment filed by Institute for Policy Integrity. 12/01/2017 Amicus Motion Download Motion for leave to file an amicus brief filed by Professor Michael Greenstone. Michael Greenstone, an economist and professor at the University of Chicago and formerly Chief Economist for President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, requested leave to file an amicus brief to assist the court to make two points: (1) explaining the significance of lifting the coal leasing moratorium without completing an updated environmental review of the federal coal program by demonstrating the societal costs of climate change and air pollution caused by new coal leasing and (2) explaining advances in climate-change economics since the last programmatic review of the coal leasing program in 1979. 11/21/2017 Order Download Plaintiffs' motion to supplement administrative record granted. 06/02/2017 Order Download Motion to consolidate granted. 05/31/2017 Motion Download Motion to consolidate filed. 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.
California v. Zinke
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 07/25/2017 Order Download Order issued granting Wyoming motion to intervene. Montana Federal Court Allowed Wyoming to Intervene in Challenge to Lifting of Coal Leasing Moratorium. The federal district court for the District of Montana granted the State of Wyoming’s motion to intervene in a lawsuit brought by four states to challenge the Department of the Interior’s lifting of the Obama administration’s moratorium on the federal coal leasing program. The court said Wyoming met the standard for intervention as of right because it contained a number of coal leases affected by the moratorium and because it occupied a different position than the United States due to its “unique interests as a high volume coal producing state.” 05/09/2017 Complaint Download Complaint filed. States Challenged Restarting of Federal Coal Leasing Program. California, New Mexico, New York, and Washington sued Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Department of the Interior in the federal district court for the District of Montana, seeking to stop the defendants from restarting the federal coal leasing program. The states asked the court to set aside Secretarial Order 3348, in which Secretary Zinke revoked a secretarial order issued by his predecessor Sally Jewell that ordered a programmatic environmental impact review of the coal leasing program and placed a moratorium on new coal leases pending the completion of the review. The states alleged that the defendants had failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, the Mineral Leasing Act, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. The states asserted that they had been leaders in working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to impede climate change and that they had a significant interest in ensuring that the federal coal leasing program did not undermine these efforts. The states also alleged that they had experienced and would continue to experience the adverse impacts of climate change. They asserted that previously conducted environmental reviews of the coal leasing program did not consider and evaluate the program’s climate change impacts. On May 31, 2017, the states’ action was consolidated with a lawsuit brought by the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and environmental groups.