Judge: US can’t delay challenge to public land coal sales

National News

FILE – In this April 4, 2013, file photo, a mechanized shovel loads a haul truck with coal at the Spring Creek coal mine near Decker, Mont. A judge says U.S officials downplayed the climate change impacts and other environmental costs from the expansion of a massive coal mine near the Montana-Wyoming border, in a case that could show how far the Biden administration is willing to go to unwind his predecessors’ decisions. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A U.S. judge has rejected the Biden administration’s attempt to delay a lawsuit from several states and environmental groups that would end sales for coal mining leases on federal lands.

The coal program was temporarily shut down under former President Barack Obama because of concerns about climate change. It was revived by the Trump administration, but there have been few sales in the years since because the use of coal has plummeted as utilities turn to cleaner-burning fuels.

Environmentalists want to shut down the program permanently.

U.S. District Brian Morris issued an order late Thursday denying the Biden administration’s attempt to delay the case for another three months, after already being granted a two-month extension in March.

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