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Kentucky Court Allows Environmental Groups to Intervene in Pollution Case

The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled environmental groups and citizens may intervene in a lawsuitagainst a coal mining company.The Supreme Court’s ruling upholds Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd’s decision to let environmental groups intervene in the case. The groups—which include Appalachian Voices and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth—wanted a voice in the case, because they oppose a settlement reached between the state and Frasure Creek Mining for violations of the Clean Water Act in eastern Kentucky.When Judge Shepherd ruled the groups could intervene, the mining company and the Energy and Environment Cabinet appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court.Eric Chance of Appalachian Voicessays he doesn’t see why the state is opposing the non-profit’s involvement.“We think it’s sad that the cabinet is wasting their resources trying to prevent citizen involvement here when they should be focusing their time on trying to prevent pollution problems,” he said.The Energy and Environment Cabinet declined a request for an interview, but in an emailed statement spokesman Dick Brown said: "We’re disappointed in the ruling but will continue our efforts to resolve these cases.”Now the case goes back to Judge Shepherd. All the parties are involved in mediation, to see if they can reach a mutually-agreeable solution.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.