Oklahoma leaders file lawsuit against federal government over coal mining rights

Oklahoma State Capitol building

Oklahoma State Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma state leaders have filed a lawsuit against the federal government related to coal mining and reclamation operations.

On Monday, Gov. Kevin Stitt has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Interior, Secretary Deb Halaand and other Biden Administration officials for attempting to strip Oklahoma’s jurisdiction to regulate coal mining and reclamation operations.

“The Department of the Interior and other defendants in this case are dead wrong about their decision,” Gov. Stitt said. “They are attempting to unlawfully federalize mines that have been regulated by Oklahoma for almost 40 years by ignoring the clear limitations in the McGirt decision. Despite multiple attempts at dialogue, the Biden Interior Department has refused to adequately explain their legal position. The state of Oklahoma has no choice but to pursue legal action.”

According to the lawsuit, Oklahoma leaders allege that numerous steps are required before the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement can take over a state program, but say none were followed.

“This action ignores the law and the reality that Oklahoma has managed these operations for decades,” said Oklahoma Solicitor General Mithun Mansinghani. “The administration’s action jeopardizes the safe operation of coal mining and mine reclamation, state funding, and the jobs of state employees that have been performing this work for many years.”

The lawsuit argues that the government is relying on an erroneous expansion of the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt decision.

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