Appeal panel hears W.Va. Spruce Mine case Thursday - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Appeal panel hears W.Va. Spruce Mine case Thursday


An appeals court will hear oral arguments Thursday on the Environmental Protection Agency's veto of water-pollution permits for 1 of West Virginia's largest mountaintop removal mines.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has scheduled 15 minutes for each side, starting at 9:30 a.m.

In 2011, the EPA revoked a permit the Army Corps of Engineers had issued four years earlier to St. Louis-based Arch Coal for its 2,300-acre Spruce No. 1 mine.

EPA said destructive, unsustainable mining practices would cause irreparable environmental damage and threaten the health of residents nearby.

Industry, politicians and state regulators want the appeals court to uphold a federal judge's ruling that EPA overstepped its authority. They say EPA is preventing permits from ever being considered final.

Environmentalists want the ruling overturned.

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