US appeals court in Va. OKs W.Va. mine permit

Federal appeals court in Va. sides refuses to block mining permit in West Virginia

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A federal appeals court is refusing to block a federal permit for a West Virginia coal mine that was challenged by environmentalists.

A panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that a federal judge was right to rule that the Army Corps of Engineers did its job when it granted the permit under the Clean Water Act. The permit was for Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources' Highland Reylas surface mine in Logan County.

The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and others had challenged the permit, saying it would cause irreparable harm to 2 ½ miles of streams.

The corps said it anticipated no such effects when it issued a water pollution permit. The court agreed that the agency thoroughly evaluated all evidence before making its decision.

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