Ruling that the Trump administration failed to take “climate change” into account, a federal judge temporarily halted hundreds of oil-drilling projects on more than 300,000 acres of public land in Wyoming.
Rudolph Contreras, a U.S. district judge in Washington D.C., determined the administration violated environmental laws by failing to consider greenhouse gas emissions, ordering the Bureau of Land Management to redo its analysis, the Washington Post reported.
If upheld, the ruling jeopardizes Trump’s energy agenda, which relies on fossil-fuel production to bolster independence on foreign energy.
WildEarth Guardians climate program director Jeremy Nichols called the ruling Tuesday “the Holy Grail ruling we’ve been after, especially with oil and gas.”
“”It calls into question the legality of oil and gas leasing that’s happening everywhere,” he said.
President Obama appointed Contreras to the bench in 2012.
One News Now observed the order by Contreras appeared to go a step further than others. While previous rulings focused on individual lease sales or permits, Contreras said that when Bureau of Land Management officials auction land, they must consider the impact on emissions from past, present and foreseeable future oil and gas leases nationwide.
“Given the national, cumulative nature of climate change, considering each individual drilling project in a vacuum deprives the agency and the public of the context necessary to evaluate oil and gas drilling on federal land,” Contreras wrote.
The decision came in a lawsuit against the BLM by WildEarth Guardians, Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Western Environmental Law Center. The complaint charged the administration failed to calculate and limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from future oil and gas projects.
A recent study, the Guardian of London reported, found the administration has made more than 13 million onshore acres available for leasing, far more than any similar period under Obama.
Most of the land is in the western states of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.
Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Kristen Lenhardt said the agency was still reviewing the ruling and “determining a path forward regarding the implications.”
Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, a defendant in the case, told the Washington Post the BLM already does the correct analysis of greenhouse gas effects at the leasing stage. That assessment changes once it knows how many oil and gas wells might be drilled on leased land.
“This judge has ignored decades of legal precedent in this ruling. The judge is basically asking BLM to take a wild guess on how many wells will be developed on leases, prematurely.”
Kyle Tisdel, attorney and energy and communities program director for the Western Environmental Law Center said that with “the science mounting that we need to aggressively rein in greenhouse gases, this ruling is monumental.”
“Every acre of our public land sold to the oil and gas industry is another blow to the climate, making this ruling a powerful reality check on the Trump administration and a potent tool for reining in climate pollution.”
Same old same old
Noted climate-change skeptic Marc Morano testified to Congress last month that after nearly two decades of global cooling, “global warming” activism has been shown to be merely the latest environmental scare with the same big-government solutions of wealth redistribution and central planning.
He said the focus on the Green New Deal proposed by freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has moved the Democratic Party “into serious, unscientific, nutty territory.”
Ocasio-Cortez recently claimed that unless global warming is addressed, the world has only 12 years left.
He quotes an MIT professor who said: “As early as 1864 George Perkins Marsh, sometimes said to be the father of American ecology, warned that the earth was ‘fast becoming an unfit home for its ‘noblest inhabitant,” and that unless men changed their ways it would be reduced ‘to such a condition of impoverished productiveness, of shattered surface, of climatic excess, as to threaten the depravation, barbarism, and perhaps even extinction of the species.'”
Morano cited British scientist Philip Stott saying the earth “has been given a 10-year survival warning regularly for the last 50 or so years. We have been serially doomed.”