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Biden ending new leases in America's top coal region

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Giant truck hauls coal

In a pair of controversial environmental decisions, the Biden administration is moving to end all new coal leasing in the country's largest producing coal region, the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana.

The announcement Thursday by the federal Bureau of Land Management is in response to a lawsuit by environmental groups and is expected to face protests from the industry and coal producing states including Wyoming. In the agency's final environmental study, the BLM's Buffalo, Wyoming field office ruled that new coal leasing would have significant impacts on human health and the climate, due to the coal being burned at power plants.

Environmentalists called the decision a victory, estimating that it would keep six billion tons of "highly polluting coal in the ground."

"The BLM released a common sense plan that reflects the reality of today's coal markets," said Mark Fix of the Montana-based Northern Plains Resource council, in a statement.

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