BLM Coal Leases Fail to Account for Global Warming Impacts
September 7, 2010
Sierra Club and its allies are challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) decision to issue leases for two Wyoming coal mines without adequately considering the global warming impacts of burning the coal in power plants. On August 30, Sierra Club, WildEarth Guardians and Defenders of Wildlife urged the Interior Department’s appeals board to suspend the leases for the Belle Ayr North and Caballo West coal mines in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, a major source of domestic coal. The environmental groups allege that BLM’s environmental assessment of the two leases fails to properly account for the significant environmental impacts associated with the next logical step after mining—burning the coal for electrical power generation. BLM failed to consider the impacts of the indirect greenhouse gas emissions that would result from issuing the leases, which authorize the sale of over 350 million tons of coal.
In July, the three environmental groups filed a similar lawsuit arguing that BLM should have considered the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions associated with issuing a lease for another coal mine in the Powder River Basin. In their most recent challenge, Sierra Club and its allies reiterate that the Powder River Basin needs to be re-certified as a “coal production region” under federal law. The decertification of the Powder River Basin, authorized by BLM in 1990, has allowed the agency to sidestep leasing procedures critical to ensuring that the regional environmental impacts of coal mining are adequately addressed.
Details and Documents:
Sierra Club et al. Notice of Appeal and Petition for Stay
August 30, 2010, U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Hearings and Appeals, Board of Land Appeals
See other "Stopping Mountaintop Removal and Other Destructive Mining" cases.