A federal judge has blocked an oil and gas drilling project over concerns about man-made climate change. One skeptic says Republicans deserve some of the blame here, too.
The project in question involves almost 500 square miles of public land in Wyoming. U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras, an Obama appointee, said the federal government must consider the cumulative climate change impact of leasing broad swaths of U.S. public land for oil and gas exploration.
According to The Associated Press, the order marks the latest in a string of court rulings over the past decade – including one last month in Montana – that have faulted the U.S. for inadequate consideration of greenhouse gas emissions when approving oil, gas, and coal projects on federal land.
"This is inevitable – and what I mean by that is the George W. Bush administration did not push back or try to change anything," argues Marc Morano of Climate Depot. "They rubberstamped United Nations reports and they never challenged the underpinning of this science that claims that our oil and gas are creating a climate catastrophe."
Morano says Barack Obama came into office and made it worse – and he contends the current administration needs to shoulder some blame as well.
"The Trump administration has not challenged the endangerment finding that the Obama administration implemented that says carbon dioxide is a danger to our atmosphere," says Morano, "[and] the Trump administration has not yet appointed a presidential commission to reexamine the science."
Because of that, Morano asks: "Who can blame a judge?"
"It's amazing more judges haven't come to this ruling," he continues. "The time has come to officially start challenging the scientific claims of the United Nations and pushing back on this nonsense – and until that happens, I'm not even confident that, if this goes to the Supreme Court, it will go our way at this point."
Sven Larson, senior fellow with Wyoming Liberty Group, says while this is a federal matter, it will hurt the state of Wyoming.
"If we look at our state government and our state economy, obviously are we are relatively dependent on minerals in general, including oil and gas and coal, of course; although coal has become less important over time," says Larson. "The immediate problem I see in this is that the Wyoming state government, as a result of this, is going to suffer from this as tax revenue is going to decline or … go stagnant, at least as far as federal lands are concerned."
And Larsen points out that Wyoming is already in fiscal trouble. "We have a persistent and growing budget deficit," he explains. "There have been serious discussions in the last two sessions about raising taxes and sprawling taxes in other directions than minerals, so this is only going to reinforce that conversation."