Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joined a Montana-led coalition supporting a petition for rehearing en banc in 350 Montana, et al. v. Dep’t of Interior and Signal Peak, LLC, a case that has delayed the mining expansion plan for the Bull Mountain coal mine in Montana since 2013. Despite thorough research concluding that the coal mining project would not cause any significant adverse environmental impact, a panel of the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit disagreed, citing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and held that the Department of the Interior acted capriciously by failing to explain why the environmental concerns were minor. The petition asks the entire Ninth Circuit to reexamine that holding.
“This ‘yes to your comprehensive, data-driven conclusions, but what about global warming’ doctrine finds no home in the NEPA context,” the brief states. “Without some judicial restraint and deference to [the Department of the] Interior’s scientific expertise, NEPA review will supplant other substantive permitting statutes. Plaintiffs don’t and can’t challenge Interior’s discretion to lease public lands for coal mining.”
Read the brief here.