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Citizens for Clean Energy v. U.S. Department of the Interior

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20122
Nos. CV-17-30-GF-BMM, (D. Mont., 05/22/2020) (Morris, J.)

A district court denied a request to vacate the Trump Administration's decision to lift the Obama Administration's moratorium on new coal leasing on public lands. Environmental groups, tribes, and states argued that BLM's issuance of a final EA and FONSI were insufficient to meet the court's previous order that found the decision to lift the moratorium constituted a major federal action requiring the agency to comply with NEPA, and thus sought to have the decision vacated. The court held that its order required BLM to initiate a NEPA analysis but did not specify the type of analysis required, and that the agency's decision to conduct an EA and issue a FONSI rather than release a more rigorous EIS sufficiently remedied the violation. It therefore denied plaintiffs' request to vacate the Trump Administration's decision, but held that they were free to file a new complaint if they wished to challenge the sufficiency of the EA and FONSI.