Ferguson argues reversal violates the National Environmental Policy Act…
Attorney General Bob Ferguson today filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management over a program to lease coal mining rights on public land, which contributes to significant coal-train traffic through the state of Washington. The lawsuit challenges Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s decision to restart the federal coal leasing program without supplementing or replacing its nearly 40-year-old environmental study. That decision, Ferguson argues, violates the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The lawsuit, jointly filed today by California, New Mexico, New York and Washington in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, Great Falls Division, asks the court to declare that the federal government acted “arbitrarily, capriciously, contrary to law, abused their discretion, and failed to follow the procedure required by law.”
The states also seek an injunction forcing the federal government to halt the coal leasing program unless and until it completes the environmental impact review required by law.
“Taxpayers deserve to have their natural resources managed responsibly,” Ferguson said. “Responsible stewardship requires an understanding of the costs and benefits of extraction, which just months ago these same agencies admitted they simply don’t have. That’s unacceptable.” More