News & Features

Groups Seek Curb on Coal, Oil Extraction in Montana, Wyoming

The suit challenges U.S. Bureau of Land Management land management plans for the region

BILLINGS – Conservation groups alleged Thursday that the Trump administration ignored a court order to consider reductions to coal, oil and natural gas extraction to combat climate change and air pollution.

The Western Organization of Resource Councils and other groups filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court that seeks to halt the development of fossil fuels in the Powder River Basin region of Montana and Wyoming.

The suit challenges U.S. Bureau of Land Management land management plans for the region, where dump trucks as big as houses haul loads around the clock from open-pit coal mines that can measure more than a mile wide.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris in 2018 rejected the administration’s arguments that climate change and other environmental issues could be addressed through individual mine expansions or leases. Morris ordered the agency to consider alternatives. The groups behind Thursday’s lawsuit say officials never did so before re-approving the land plans.

Representatives of the bureau and the Department of Justice did not immediately respond to the complaint.