Trump administration steps up war with California over environmental protections

The Trump administration stepped up its offensive Monday on California's environmental laws, suing to reverse a state law that seeks to handcuff the federal government from selling any of the 45.8 million acres of property it controls in the state.

The Justice Department lawsuit, filed in Sacramento, is the latest federal effort to roll back California's strict environmental protections as the Trump administration seeks to open more land in the West for mining, drilling and other interests.

The Trump administration has challenged California's policies on several fronts. Last month, the Justice Department sued to block three California state laws, saying they were an unconstitutional attempt to thwart enforcement of federal immigration laws.

At issue in the latest lawsuit is a California law that gives a state lands commission the power to block the sale, donation or exchange of federal lands. It was passed in October after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced plans to cut protections for 10 national monuments in the state.

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