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Judge bars Trump from taking energy panel's advice

BILLINGS, Mont. — A U.S. judge has barred the Trump administration from acting on the recommendations of an advisory panel that was created to make it easier to extract fossil fuels from public lands and waters.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said in a Tuesday ruling that the Royalty Policy Committee was established in violation of a law meant ensure such panels are publicly accountable.

The committee was created in 2017 by then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. It was disbanded without explanation in April when its two-year charter expired.

The committee had attracted sharp criticism from conservationists and others who alleged its membership was stacked in favour of the energy industry.

It included industry executives; officials from energy states such as Texas, Wyoming and North Dakota; academics and at least one industry consultant.

Matthew Brown, The Associated Press