This week brought a pause on Colorado oil leases, the end to a natural gas pipeline’s construction in Idaho & Wyoming, and the return of a ban on coal sales from federal lands.
While the media has distracted the nation with tales of the Great Mar-a-Lago Raid, Biden’s team of green justice advocates have managed to wage a very successful war on the nation’s energy industry.
To begin with, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has just paused oil and gas leasing on 2.2 million acres of Colorado public land.
The agreement was filed Thursday in Colorado federal court and requires the government to conduct a new environmental analysis of the climate impacts of oil and gas leasing on public lands in southwestern Colorado. The government also agreed to consider how the leases may impact the endangered Gunnison sage- grouse and its habitat.
The Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity and others said in an August 2020 lawsuit that BLM had violated the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires the government to take a hard look at the environmental impacts of its leasing decisions, when it approved the current 20-year plan.
The groups said the decision to allow leasing on these public lands would aggravate the climate crisis and that it would be “impossible” to address that impact without “completely transforming the way public lands are managed for fossil fuel exploitation.”
The groups also said the government failed to adequately consider the impacts leasing would have on the survival and recovery of the threatened Gunnison sage-grouse.
Next, the U.S. Forest Service and two environmental groups agreed to stop the 50-mile (80-kilometer) Crow Creek Pipeline Project, which would have created a natural gas pipeline from Idaho to Wyoming.
The Forest Service agreed to complete a supplemental environmental impact statement before authorizing the project that partially crosses Forest Service land. The timeline for completing the environmental study isn’t clear.
Wyoming-based Lower Valley Energy wants to build the pipeline that would start near Montpelier, Idaho, and run to Afton, Wyoming. But the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Yellowstone to Uintas Connection say it will harm protected grizzly bears and other wildlife.
Finally, a federal judge has reinstated a moratorium on coal leasing from federal lands imposed under former Obama and then scuttled under former President Donald Trump.
The ruling from U.S. District Judge Brian Morris requires government officials to conduct a new environmental review before they can resume coal sales from federal lands. Morris faulted the government’s previous review of the program, done under Trump, for failing to adequately consider the climate damage from coal’s greenhouse gas emissions and other effects.
Almost half the nation´s annual coal production – some 260 million tons last year – is mined by private companies from leases on federal land, primarily in Western states such as Wyoming, Montana and Colorado.
…The coal program brought in about $400 million to federal and state coffers through royalties and other payments in 2021, according to government data. It supports thousands of jobs and has been fiercely defended by industry representatives, Republicans in Congress and officials in coal- producing states.
Credit where credit is due: Biden and the Democrats have waged a successful war. Unfortunately, it is against the American energy industry.DONATE
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