Judge blocks oil-drilling in Wyoming because of climate change
An outrageous ruling from a federal judge will halt hundreds of oil and gas drilling projects across 500 square miles in Wyoming because he says the government did not adequately take into account climate change when granting the leases on public lands.
Talk about out-of-control Judiciary.
U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras in Washington appeared to go a step further than other judges in his order issued late Tuesday.
Previous rulings focused on individual lease sales or permits. But Contreras said that when the U.S. Bureau of Land Management auctions public lands for oil and gas leasing, officials must consider emissions from past, present and foreseeable future oil and gas leases nationwide.
"Given the national, cumulative nature of climate change, considering each individual drilling project in a vacuum deprives the agency and the public of the context necessary to evaluate oil and gas drilling on federal land," Contreras wrote.
The ruling coincides with an aggressive push by President Donald Trump's administration to open more public lands to energy development.
It came in a lawsuit that challenged leases issued in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado in 2015 and 2016, during President Barack Obama's administration.
Only the leases in Wyoming were immediately addressed in Contreras' ruling. It blocks federal officials from issuing drilling permits until they conduct a new environmental review looking more closely at greenhouse gas emissions.
Considering emissions from "past, present and foreseeable future" drilling is beyond absurd. No one knows how many actual wells will be operational. No one knows how much oil and gas will be extracted. This ruling has nothing to do with saving the planet and everything to do with the personal political beliefs of the judge.
A 2007 Supreme Court decision ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant. It did not give the federal judiciary the power to subjectively determine how much CO2 in the atmosphere would lead to climate change. Basically, the judge in this case took it upon himself to make that determination and stifle the production of energy on federal land where the companies had gotten approval to drill.
I would imagine that this decision will be overturned on appeal. But as long as federal judges continue to create law in service to their political agenda, it will lead to costly appeals that would unnecessary if a judge performed his duties in the first place.