BLM Publishes Draft Environmental Assessment for Lifting Coal Leasing Moratorium

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a draft environmental assessment (EA) for its decision to lift an Obama-era moratorium on federal coal leasing. The moratorium was first imposed in January 2016 pursuant to DOI Secretarial Order 3338 which also directed BLM to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS) to evaluate the environmental and social effects of the program and determine whether the program should be modernized

In the draft EA, BLM has concluded that reinstating the federal coal leasing program will have no significant effect on greenhouse gas emissions or other environmental impacts other than to change the timing of the emissions and impacts. This conclusion is based on BLM’s assumption that the moratorium would have been lifted in March 2019 following publication of the previously planned programmatic EIS for the program.

BLM is providing a 15-day comment period which ends on June 6, 2019.