Judge smacks down Trump drilling project until he stops denying science


Trump tried to allow drilling on 300,000 acres of land without addressing climate change, but a judge just stopped him in his tracks.

Trump's denial of climate science backfired after a federal judge cited his administration's ignorance in an order that temporarily will block drilling on 300,000 acres of Wyoming land.

The Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management "did not sufficiently consider climate change" when it decided to auction federal land in the state to oil and gas interests, Judge Rudolph Contreras of the U.S. District Court wrote in his ruling on Tuesday.

Contreras noted the "national, cumulative nature of climate change" and cited the administration's attempts to downplay the science as depriving the public "of the context necessary to evaluate oil and gas drilling on federal land before irretrievably committing to that drilling."

As a result, he ordered the Bureau to redo its analysis of hundreds of projects in Wyoming. The Washington Post reports that this is the first time the administration has been held to account for the climate impact of its energy agenda, which has been designed by the wealthy fossil fuel donors to Trump's campaign.

"It calls into question the legality of the Trump administration’s entire oil and gas program...This forces them to pull their head out of the sand and look at the bigger picture," said Jeremy Nichols, climate and energy program director for WildEarth Guardians. Nichols' group, along with Physicians for Social Responsibility, sued the administration to force a review of the process.

Under President Barack Obama's administration, the climate impact of federal oil, gas, and coal leasing was considered as part of the process. But Trump undid that and is now paying the price.

Trump is a conspiracy theorist who does not believe in climate change. He has for years insisted that it is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese government. His administration's policies and appointees reflect his indulgence in such crackpot beliefs.

The failed federal case becomes just one of the many court cases that Trump's team has lost since he assumed office, thanks to incompetence and ignorance.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.