Federal Court: Trump Admin’s 440 Fossil Fuel Leases On Public Land Are Invalid
According to The Hill, a Montana federal court invalidated hundreds of oil and gas leases that the Trump administration sold on public land across the West.
- In a win to environmentalists and conservationists, the court ruled on Friday that the 440 oil and gas leases are invalid because officials did not follow a proper plan to protect a threatened bird species, the sage grouse, The Hill reported.
- US District Court Judge Brian Morris said the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under the administration “undercut” the 2015 plan which was created under the Obama administration.
- Morris wrote, “The errors here occurred at the beginning of the oil and gas lease sale process, infecting everything that followed.”
“The court’s decision is not only good news for the sage-grouse, it reaffirms the historic plan that BLM worked out with farmers, ranchers, conservationists, energy groups, and government officials,” said Earthjustice attorney Michael Freeman, who represented conservation groups in the suit. “It confirms that the Trump administration violated the law in bulldozing those commitments in its haste to sell off lands that are owned by all Americans to the oil and gas industry.”
- The Hill reported that the “2015 plan was designed to fight dwindling sage grouse numbers, but efforts to protect the birds have proven controversial with some ranchers and oil and gas companies.”
Environmentalists are hopeful the court’s decision will lead to similar reversals on oil and gas leases in other states, wrote The Hill.