Suit Filed Over Powder River Basin Coal Leases Approved by U.S. Interior Department
May 3, 2012
On May 2, WildEarth Guardians and the Sierra Club filed suit against the U.S. Department of Interior over one of the largest coal mining plans ever to be approved by the federal government.
The lawsuit targets the South Hilight, North Hilight, South Porcupine, and North Porcupine coal leases. These leases would allow the expansion of the world’s two largest coal mines—the Black Thunder and North Antelope Rochelle mines—which are owned by two of the world’s largest coal companies—Arch Coal (Black Thunder) and Peabody Energy (North Antelope Rochelle).
The leases would open the door for more than two billion tons of new strip mining. Coal from the Powder River Basin is burned throughout the U.S. and is increasingly exported to Asia, spewing carbon dioxide on a global scale.
The coal is federally owned and managed by the Bureau of Land Management, an Interior Department agency. The Bureau estimates that for every one ton of Powder River Basin coal burned, 1.659 metric tons of carbon dioxide are released. In total, the region is responsible for 13% of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, more than any other single activity.
At the same time, strip mining in the Powder River Basin is fueling regional clean air concerns. Reports by the Bureau of Land Management have found that coal mining is contributing to violations of air quality limits for particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide gases (a byproduct of blasting at coal mines).
Filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., today’s lawsuit challenges the Interior Department’s failure to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Federal Land Policy Management Act.
Details and Documents:
New Report Questions Federal Coal Leasing Policies in the Powder River Basin
June 26, 2012 by Bruce Nilles, Compass
Groups File Suit Over Largest Coal Plans Ever Approved by US Interior Department
May 3, 2012, Sierra Club Press Release
Powder River Basin coal leasing prompts IG, GAO reviews
June 24, 2012 by Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post
Environmental groups sue to stop coal leases in Wyoming
May 3, 2012 by Laura Zuckerman, Reuters
Powder River Basin: Green groups sue to stop several coal leases
May 2, 2012 by Manuel Quinones, E&E News
See other "Stopping Mountaintop Removal and Other Destructive Mining" cases.