Earth Day 2019: Judge blocks Trump effort to mine coal on public lands

This is a big win, folks:

The decision, by Judge Brian Morris of the United States District Court of the District of Montana, does not reinstate President Barack Obama’s 2016 freeze on new coal mining leases on public lands. That policy was part of an effort by the Obama administration to curtail the burning of coal, a major producer of greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.

But the court ruling does say that the 2017 Trump administration policy, enacted by former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, to overturn Mr. Obama’s coal mining ban did not include adequate studies of the environmental effects of the mining, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970, or NEPA, one of the nation’s bedrock environmental laws. “Federal Defendants’ decision not to initiate the NEPA process proves arbitrary and capricious,” Judge Morris wrote.

Bolding mine, because that is the most succinct definition of Trump's behavior I've seen. We don't know what he's going to do from day to day (arbitrary), but it almost always involves some little pissing contest he was drawn into (capricious). And apparently nothing gets under his skin more that previous policy moves by Obama:

This setback is the latest in what environmental law observers estimate is a string of about 40 such courtroom losses for efforts by Mr. Trump to undo Mr. Obama’s environmental rules.

On Friday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit gave the Environmental Protection Agency 90 days to decide whether it will ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to brain damage. While the Obama administration had recommended banning the chemical, based on the recommendations of E.P.A. scientists, the Trump administration has sought to allow the agriculture industry to continue to use the chemical.

And last month a federal judge in Alaska ruled unlawful an executive order by Mr. Trump that lifted an Obama-era ban on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean and parts of the North Atlantic coast.

Political historians will talk your ears off about corruption during the Golden Age, and they're not wrong. Big business got whatever it wanted back then, but they at least tried to be clever about it. What we're seeing now with the Trump administration is like the Gilded Age on steroids, with industrialists actually running the government and not just corrupting public officials. And considering how well-informed the public is now (compared to then), it's an even bigger crisis, because we're allowing it to happen.

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