CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A federal appeals court has overturned a ruling that would have required more extensive environmental reviews for mountaintop removal coal mines.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., ruled Friday the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can issue Clean Water Act permits for valley fills without more extensive reviews.
The court reversed a U.S. District judge's ruling that the Corps wasn't requiring enough environmental review before issuing the permits.
The decision is a victory for coal mine operators in Appalachia and a defeat for environmental groups who oppose mountaintop mining. The practice involves blasting away mountaintops to expose coal seams and dumping dirt and other debris into streams.