Environmental groups file lawsuit to preserve moratorium on new coal leases

The Trump administration’s attempt to lift the existing moratorium on new coal leases triggered an immediate lawsuit on behalf of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Sierra Club, and Center for Biological Diversity . . .

Environmental groups that vowed to fight President Donald Trump’s efforts to roll back his predecessor’s plans to curb global warming made good on their promises Wednesday, teaming up with an American Indian tribe to ask a federal court to block an order that lifts restrictions on coal sales from federal lands.

The Interior Department last year placed a moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands to review the climate change impacts of burning the fuel and whether taxpayers were getting a fair return. But Trump on Tuesday signed a sweeping executive order that included lifting the moratorium, and also initiated a review of former President Barack Obama’s signature plan to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Environmentalists say lifting the moratorium will worsen climate change and allow coal to be sold for unfairly low prices.

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Also read: Zinke orders rollback of coal moratorium, adds royalty review (Missoulian)