HELENA, Mont. - Four states are suing over the Trump administration's decision to restart the sale of coal leases on federal lands.
The attorneys general of Washington, California, New Mexico, and New York filed their lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Montana.
They say that the U.S. Interior Department's reversal of the Obama administration's moratorium on the federal coal leasing program was done without a review on whether it would be good for the environment or for taxpayers.
The Obama administration blocked the program in 2016 to study whether coal companies that lease federal lands should pay higher royalties and whether the program was contributing to climate change by subsidizing coal development.
President Donald Trump lifted the moratorium by executive order in March as part of his promise to revitalize the slumping coal industry.
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who successfully sued the Trump administration over the President's first immigration executive order, said taxpayers deserve to have their natural resources managed responsibly.
“Responsible stewardship requires an understanding of the costs and benefits of extraction, which just months ago these same agencies admitted they simply don’t have. That’s unacceptable," Ferguson said in a statement.