Lawsuit challenges coal mine approvals in 4 states

2013-02-28T19:07:00Z 2013-06-20T19:19:18Z Lawsuit challenges coal mine approvals in 4 statesCasper Star-Tribune and news services The Billings Gazette
February 28, 2013 7:07 pm  • 

Three Wyoming coal mines are among those that weren't properly noticed to the public before government approval, according to a lawsuit filed in a Colorado court Thursday.

WildEarth Guardians, a New Mexico-based wildlife conservation group, filed suit in federal court seeking to overturn government approvals for seven coal mines in four states.

Jeremy Nichols with WildEarth Guardians in Denver said Thursday that the Department of Interior's approvals were illegal because no public notice was given.

Wyoming mines mentioned in the suit include the School Creek and Black Thunder mines southeast of Wright and Cordero Rojo mine south of Gillette.

The suit also lists the San Juan mine in New Mexico, Colowyo and Trapper mines in Colorado and the Spring Creek mine in Montana.

Among the allegations made in the suit are claims that the U.S. Office of Surface Mining didn't publicly announce environmental assessments, environmental impact statements and other documents required to complete the federal permitting process for mining plans and plan modifications for the facilities in Wyoming and other states.

The suit asks a federal judge to void the government's approvals, which were awarded between 2007 and 2012. The suit also contends coal mining pollutes the air, water and land.

The Department of Interior did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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