DOI Coal Leasing Moratorium

The Environmental & Energy Law Program is tracking the environmental regulatory rollbacks of the Trump administration. Click here for the list of rules we are following

Why it Matters

The Department of the Interior (DOI) manages 700 million acres of subsurface mineral rights. DOI halted coal leasing to review how to address the program’s health and environmental impacts and ensure taxpayers get a fair return for their public resources.

Current Status

Multiple lawsuits are pending over DOI’s lifting of the coal leasing moratorium.


On January 15, 2016 Interior Secretary Jewell issued an order placing a moratorium on new coal leasing on public lands and launching a comprehensive review to evaluate potential reforms to the program.

Trump Era

On March 29, 2017 Interior Secretary Zinke lifted the coal leasing moratorium in Order 3348. On the same day, a coalition of environmental groups and the Northern Cheyenne tribe sued DOI over the lifting of the moratorium. Citizens for Clean Energy et al v. DOI, No. (G.F.D. MT).

On May 9, 2017 New York, California, New Mexico, and Washington sued DOI for lifting the moratorium, saying the move will exacerbate global warming. State of New Mexico et al v. DOI. No. 4-cv-00042 (G.F.D. MT).

In both cases, the States of Wyoming and Montana and the National Mining Association have intervened on behalf of DOI.

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