Mountaintop Removal Decision

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

A federal judge says Massey Energy can resume using valley fills at three mountaintop removal mines whose permits were blocked.

U.S. District Judge Chuck Chambers says most of the environmental damage alleged in a lawsuit already has been done.

Following a hearing Tuesday, Chambers suspended parts of his March 23 ruling that rescinded the valley fill permits for the Camp Branch Mine in Logan County, Black Castle Mine and Laxare East operation in Boone County and Republic Number Two in Kanawha County.

The decision allows Massey to dump waste rock and dirt into the valley fills while it appeals the March ruling.

However, the decision doesn't apply to Laxare East because it already was closed due to poor market conditions.

Chambers ruled in March that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to adequately determine environmental damage before approving the permits.

The corps had maintained that more extensive reviews weren't necessary.

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