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Court of Appeals Set to Hear Wilson Creek Mining Case Tomorrow

A Franklin County court will hear a coal company’s third appeal in a case against the state Energy and Environment Cabinet tomorrow. The contention is over mining near Wilson Creek in Floyd County.Several years ago, residents living on Wilson Creek petitioned the state to declare the area unsuitable for mining. That petition was rejected, but the Energy and Environment cabinet placed certain restrictions on mining in the area—like any mining would have to restore the land to its approximate original contour, instead of seeking a variance, and reclamation would have to be done with native tree species.Laurel Mountain Resources—a subsidiary of James River Coal—has a permit pending for a surface mine in the area, and has appealed the cabinet’s restrictions. The Franklin County Court of Appeals is the third body to hear the case—the first two decisions were in favor of the state.If the Court of Appeals also rules against the company, Laurel Mountain Resources can petition for a re-hearing, or can ask the Kentucky Supreme Court to hear the case.  A decision from the Court of Appeals isn't expected for 4-6 weeks.