Energy & Environment

Haaland revokes a dozen Trump orders

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland took action against multiple Trump-era orders on Friday, but the department said she did not reinstate a moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands despite revoking a Trump administration move to reverse it.

The Trump-era order, which terminated the Obama administration’s moratorium on new coal leasing, was one of a dozen such Trump-era moves that Haaland rescinded.

Other orders revoked by Haaland on Friday aimed to speed up energy permitting and start developing a five-year offshore oil and gas leasing program.

Haaland also took aim at the former administration’s rollback to environmental reviews in the permitting process.

“I’m hopeful that these steps will help make clear that we, as a Department, have a mandate to act,” the leader of the Interior department said in a statement.

Despite the revocation of the Trump-era order on coal, a department spokesperson, however, denied that the coal move reinstates the Obama era leasing ban. The official said the announcement doesn’t immediately take action on coal development, and that the agency is continuing to review a path forward.

The spokesperson declined to answer additional questions. 

Sharon Buccino, the senior director of the land division at the Natural Resources Defense Council’s nature program, said the Obama pause has not been reinstated because of the specific language of the 2016 order that says it is effective until “its provisions are amended, superseded, or revoked.”

She argued that when the policy was revoked under then-President Trump, it died. 

“It was in fact revoked by Trump, so that basically terminates what Obama did,” Buccino said. 

“What Secretary Haaland has done is, she’s rescinded what Trump did and so that clearly paves the way for giving greater scrutiny to new coal leasing, but the Obama moratorium isn’t live anymore … there’s nothing left to reinstate because of that language,” she added. 

Even though the administration says it has not paused leasing federal land for coal mining, it has put a temporary pause on new leasing for oil and gas drilling. 

In addition to the moves from Haaland, Interior’s Principal Deputy Solicitor Robert Anderson revoked a Trump administration opinion from January that would have required the department to hold at least two offshore drilling lease sales. 

-Updated 6:35 p.m.

Tags Coal coal leasing Deb Haaland Donald Trump drilling on federal land Environmental policy of the Donald Trump administration Interior Department

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