Several groups sue on reversal of Arctic Drilling ban

On May 3rd, several groups including Earth Justice, Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and others joined with Alaska Native groups to sue the Trump administration for its reversal of the Arctic drilling ban.

The complaint states there is no Constitutional authority for Trump to reverse a Section 12(a) withdrawal, the authority President Obama used to ban Arctic drilling. In the complaint, the claim for relief states:

In reversing President Obama’s Arctic and Atlantic Ocean withdrawals, President Trump acted in excess of his authority under Article II of the U.S. Constitution and intruded on Congress’s non-delegated exclusive power under the Property Clause, in violation of the doctrine of separation of powers.

The lawsuit is in preliminary stages, and so far, no group has asked to intervene on behalf of the government, though I expect this to change.

Digging for coal on public land? Not on our watch

This week, Trump signed executive orders that, among other things, rescinded a moratorium on new coal permits on public land. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke quickly followed with an order rolling back the moratorium.

The Obama administrations had placed the moratorium on permits because the fees collected hadn’t been adjusted in decades, and the American taxpayers were not getting good value for their money. Zinke ostensibly gives a nod to this concern by chartering a committee to look into the fees but sees no reason not to give out permits in the meantime.

A lawsuit was immediately filed by a coalition of environmental and citizen groups and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. The groups are Earth Justice, Sierra Club, Citizens for Clean Energy, Montana Environmental Information Center, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, and Wildlife Guardians.

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