Last month a number of environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and West Virginia’s Coal River Mountain Watch, sought an injunction to prevent production at the mine while they appealed a federal judge’s recent upholding of the operation’s right to mine.
US District Judge Robert Chambers ruled that although public interest weighed in favor of granting the injunction, it would not be imposed because the environmental groups did not show a sufficient likelihood of success in their appeal.
The 1 million ton per annum surface mine in Logan County will, however, incur a stay on its permit for 14 days so the plaintiffs can ask the appeals court for relief.
In August the activist groups failed to overturn the US Army Corps of Engineers’ reissuance of a Clean Water Act permit to the mine but the judge’s rulings on the issue so far emphasized the importance of weighing the public interest in private commerce and ecological standards.
“The public has a strong interest in maintaining the balance Congress sought to establish between economic gain and environmental protection,” the court order said.