Appeals court rejects coal permitting process

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Environmental groups are cheering a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that invalidates a streamlined permitting process for surface mines.

The ruling Monday reverses a lower court's ruling in eastern Kentucky that upheld the nationwide permitting process adopted by the Army Corps of Engineers in 2007.

Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club's campaign against coal, says the nationwide mining permit was "ill-conceived" and allowed the pollution of rivers and streams.

The nationwide permitting process was viewed as less burdensome for coal operators and included approvals for a much-maligned form of surface mining called mountaintop removal, where earth and rock is blasted and pushed into valleys.

The appeals court says the Corps of Engineers failed to properly assess the impact on the environment in allowing the permit.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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