Monday, February 16, 2009

Industry wins in case over mountaintop mine rules

A federal appeals court has overturned a judge's 2007 decision to require more thorough permit reviews mountaintop-removal-mine permit applications.

The 2-1 vote by a panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., was based on the notion that District Judge Robert Chambers of Huntongton, W.Va., "did not defer to the federal Army Corps of Engineers' interpretation of its own rules when granting Clean Water Act permits for mountaintop removal coal operations," writes reports Ken Ward Jr. of The Charleston Gazette. (Read more)

The two judges who voted to overturn the earlier ruling said the effects of mountaintop removal on surrounding valleys and forests should be regulated by state agencies under the federal strip-mine law. Click here to read the ruling.

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