New Hill to face WV supreme court

THE battle to prevent the expansion of a West Virginia surface mine is headed for the state Supreme Court.

Staff Reporter

Patriot wants to expand its New Hill coal mine near Cassville by 225 acres and to modify applicable water pollution permits.

The battle around the proposed expansion has been underway since 2010, with this most recent action – an appeal by the Sierra Club – relating to a county court approval of the expansion last March, according to the Associated Press.

The New Hill mine expansion was initially opposed by the Environmental Quality Board, which blocked it on concerns that coal ash run-off would pollute local reserve areas and waterways.

The board ordered the state Department of Environmental Protection to rewrite the site’s permit to impose stricter federal pollution guidelines.

Patriot and the DEP challenged the order and won in the Kanawha County Circuit Court last month.

The judge ruled that the board had exceeded its authority and imposed on the DEP’s authority but the Sierra Club is appealing that decision on the basis that the ruling failed to acknowledge the board’s independent authority under state law.

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