Attorney General Tim Fox on Thursday filed to intervene in a federal district court lawsuit on behalf of the state of Montana, defending the U.S. Department of Interior’s reversal of the Obama Administration’s moratorium on federal coal leases.
The lawsuit filed by Citizens for Clean Energy and the states of California, New Mexico, New York and Washington alleges that the order violated several environmental protection acts. The group is seeking an injunction barring the Interior Department from taking any further actions regarding federal coal leasing until Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke complies with the acts.
The order, signed by Zinke, said the federal coal-leasing program is of critical importance to the economy of the United States, supplying approximately 40 percent of the coal produced in the nation. The moratorium on federal coal leases was enacted last year in January under the Obama administration.