Federal Court Rejects Challenge to 400-Million Ton Coal Lease in Wyoming's Powder River Basin
Bureau of Land Management Continues on 18-Year Path of Squandering U.S. Taxpayer Money
Anderson, Powder River Basin Resource Council, (307)
Wilbert, Wyoming Chapter of the Sierra Club, (307)
WY — A Federal
District court judge in Washington, D.C., ruled yesterday against WildEarth
Guardians, the Sierra Club and the Powder River Basin Resource Council’s
challenge to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) misguided decision to
lease over 400 million tons of coal to Cloud Peak Energy, the current operator
of the Antelope Mine in Campbell and Converse Counties, Wyoming.
is the first in a series of legal challenges brought by the conservation groups
over BLM’s coal leasing program in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming. While the
groups were disappointed with the decision, they vowed to continue legal and
other efforts to challenge BLM’s coal leases.
going away anytime soon,” said Samantha Ruscavage-Barz, staff attorney for
WildEarth Guardians. “Our commitment remains firm to continue to fight to
protect public health and the environment and safeguard the climate.”
decision comes in the wake of a scathing report of BLM’s coal leasing program
issued last month by the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
The report finds that BLM’s coal leasing program results in a large subsidy to
the coal industry by providing coal at bargain basement prices with minimal
long, BLM’s policies have sacrificed Wyoming’s air, land, and water quality to
the coal industry.” said Shannon Anderson, an organizer with the Powder River
Basin Resource Council in Wyoming. “This case is just one more example of how
BLM’s unfair and unregulated coal leasing practices overlook important local
and national impacts.”
River Basin region of northeastern Wyoming, the largest coal-producing region
in the United States, is the source of 40% of the nation’s coal. The federal
government, managed by the BLM, owns nearly all of the coal mined in the
region. In the last two years, 15 new federal coal leases have been proposed
for the Powder River Basin, yet domestic demand for coal is shrinking. Mining
companies, including Cloud Peak Energy, are looking to export more coal to
should prioritize increasing clean energy options here at home instead of
continuing to protect mining companies’ profit margin at the expense of U.S.
families and taxpayers,” said Connie Wilbert, a Wyoming Sierra Club chapter
member. “We’ll continue to work to make sure BLM and other federal agencies
protect our water, air, and wild lands.”
Photos of Powder River Basin coal mines are available
for stories upon request.