By Aaron Johnson, Western Energy Alliance
Last month, we reported that Judge Morris in Montana and Judge Bush in Idaho vacated leases in Wyoming, over the objections of the State of Wyoming and Western Energy Alliance who intervened in defense of the Interior Department. Another month, another ruling by activist Judge Morris vacating yet more lease sales in Montana and Wyoming. This time the judge claimed that the leases had to be canceled because the Bureau of Land Management didn’t defer acreage from the sales, even though the sales were conducted under the Obama Administration’s sage grouse plans, which the judge prefers. It’s another clear case of this activist judge imposing his policy preferences from the bench. We like our chances on appeal.
Emboldened by their successes, possessing unlimited funds and not content with any leasing at all, environmental groups filed yet another lawsuit, this time challenging 23 sales from 2016 to 2019 involving over 2,000 leases in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. Western Energy Alliance quickly intervened, as it’s important for the industry to have a seat at the table in defense of federal leasing. Basically every lease sale from 2016 to 2019 is covered by a lawsuit. Western Energy Alliance has taken a leading role in defending the integrity of the federal leasing system.