Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Court overturns ruling that upheld blanket permit for mountaintop removal coal mines in Kentucky

Kentucky coal (Charles Bertram, Herald-Leader)
Environmental groups won a battle Monday in Kentucky that could prevent coal mining companies from dumping remnants of mountaintop removal into streams, Bill Estep reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. A federal judge had upheld a ruling allowing mining companies to "fill sections of streams with large amounts of rock blasted away to uncover coal seams," Estep writes, but the Court of Appeals reversed the decision.

A nationwide permit adopted in 2007 by the Army Corps of Engineers permitted dumping mountaintop removal debris, "if the Corps decided the proposed mining would have only minimal environmental impact, both by itself and when combined with past mining," Estep writes. The permit was struck down in West Virginia in 2009, but upheld in Kentucky. The Corps has since adopted more stringent permitting conditions, but a few Kentucky mines apparently still operate under the old rules. (Read more)

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