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United States of America

Order 3338 titled “Discretionary Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement to Modernize the Federal Coal Program”

legislation type Executive
Passed in 2016
This secretarial order aims to help determining whether and how the  system for developing Federal coal should be modernised. It directs the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to prepare a discretionary Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) that analyses potential leasing and management reforms to the current Federal coal program. The PEIS will provide a vehicle for the Department to undertake a comprehensive review of the program and consider whether and how the program may be improved and modernised to foster the orderly development of BLM administered coal on Federal lands in a manner that gives proper consideration to the impact of that development on important stewardship values, while also ensuring a fair return to the American public. This Order does not apply to the coal program on Indian lands. 

Under section 4.c) on the discretionary programmatic environmental impact statement, it is stated that the PEIS should examine how best to assess the climate impacts of continued Federal coal production and combustion and how to address those impacts in the management of the program to meet both the Nation's energy needs and its climate goals, as well as how best to protect the public lands from climate change impacts.

In practice, this order enabled the Obama administration to instate a moratorium of coal leases on federal lands over climate concerns. This moratorium was suspended in 2017 under the Trump administration, which led to lawsuits being filed in at least four US states. However, in August 2022,  a federal judge from the United States District Court for the District of Montana ruled that the Trump administration did not properly study the environmental impacts of suspending the decision, a requirement under the National Environmental Policy Act. This results in a reinstating of the moratorium, pending the issuance of a new environmental analysis by the Biden administration.


from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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