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Hearing set in Great Falls for 4 states’ challenge of federal coal leasing program

Posted at 2:31 PM, Dec 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-13 18:40:32-05

GREAT FALLS- A showdown over the future of the nation’s federal coal leasing program is set to play out in a Great Falls federal courtroom Thursday.

Attorneys for the states of California, New Mexico, New York and Washington plan to tell federal Judge Brian Morris that burning more coal will hurt residents in their states by making climate change worse, according to court documents.

Montana’s Northern Cheyenne Indian Tribe is also a party in the lawsuit that seeks to revive President Obama’s moratorium on federal coal leasing imposed in 2016

The Trump administration counter that ending the moratorium last year was critically important to the nation’s economy.

Over the past decade, federal coal royalties and payments to the states have totaled more than $10 billion.