Trump's fossil fuel agenda gets pushback from federal judges
Tuesday, 15 September 2020
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Federal courts have delivered a string of rebukes to the Trump administration over what they found were failures to protect the environment and address climate change as it promotes fossil fuel interests and the extraction of natural resources from public lands.
Judges have ruled administration officials ignored or downplayed potential environmental damage in lawsuits over oil and gas leases, coal mining and pipelines to transport fuels across the U.S., according to an Associated Press review of more than a dozen major environmental cases.
The latest ruling against the administration came Thursday when an appeals court refused to revive a permitting program for oil and gas pipelines that a lower court had canceled.
Actions taken by the courts have ranged from orders for more environmental analysis to the unprecedented cancellation of oil and gas leases across hundreds of thousands of acres in Western states.
“Many of the decisions the Trump administration has been making are arguably illegal and in some cases blatantly so,” said Mark Squillace, associate dean at the University of Colorado Law School and a specialist in natural resources law. “They’ve lost a lot of cases.”
Some of the most far-reaching rulings have come from U.S. District Judge Brian Morris, an appointee of former President Barack Obama posted in Montana.
This month alone Morris canceled energy leases on several hundred thousand acres in cases that centered on potential harm to water supplies and greater sage grouse, a declining species. He also struck down the nationwide permitting program for new oil and gas pipelines in a lawsuit against the controversial Keystone XL oil sands pipeline from Canada.
The The rulings brought cheers from environmentalists who have...
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