Mountaintop Mining Case Could Head to Supreme Court

by kespeland on August 28, 2009

A case involving four mountaintop mining permits could be headed for the U.S. Supreme Court. Attorneys for Earth Justice want the court to revoke the permits because they claim they were improperly issued and allowed major environmental damage to take place.  Attorney Steve Roady says a favorable ruling from the high court could call the entire permit program into question.

“We do think this case is of national importance, it seems to us it would be very important for the court to step in this case, because the case involves dramatic levels of destruction in Appalachia to headwater streams that are being buried by these mountaintop mining operations,” Roady said.

The Army Corps of Engineers issues permits for mining operations that affect aquatic environments.  Under the Clean Water Act, it must determine whether a mining operation will have adverse impacts.  But Roady says 13 miles of streams were buried as a result of the issuance of these permits.  The Corps has said it acted lawfully, and mining companies are required to do some environmental restoration.

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