Case Summary Citation

Montana Environmental Information Center v. United States Office of Surface Mining, ___ F. Supp. 3d ___, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129018, 2017 WL 3480262 (D. Mont. Aug. 14, 2017)


In MEIC v. U.S. Office of Surface Mining, the cost of coal mining’s climate impacts and the agency’s NEPA review obligations are at issue. The United States District Court for the District of Montana found that the Office of Surface Mining and Enforcement failed to adequately consider the need for an EIS and to take a hard look at the indirect, cumulative, and foreseeable impacts of a proposed coal mine expansion in central Montana. In its NEPA analysis, the court concluded that if the benefits of a carbon-intensive project are quantified, then the costs to the climate should be also, using the Social Cost of Carbon Protocol tool. The court held that the Enforcement Office was arbitrary and capricious in its EA of the proposed coal mine expansion and in its consideration of an EIS.



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