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Judge nixes bid to stop coal sales

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A judge threw out a lawsuit on Friday from a coalition of states, environmental groups and American Indians which sought to revive an Obama-era moratorium against U.S. government coal sales on public lands in the West.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris said President Donald Trump’s administration had fixed its initial failure to consider the environmental impacts of ending the moratorium.

The administration’s opponents had argued it did not look closely enough at climate change and other effects from burning coal when it did an environmental analysis of the government’s coal program.

But Morris said the completion of that analysis was enough to fulfill the administration’s immediate legal obligations. Any review of whether the analysis was itself flawed would require a new lawsuit, he added.

Trump pledged to end the moratorium prior to being elected and in office has sought to boost the industry, despite market forces that have sharply curtailed mining.

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