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State Settles With Former Mine Permit Director Over Wrongful Termination Suit

Governor Steve Beshear’s administration has settled with a former official in the state’s Energy and Environment cabinet over claims that he was wrongly fired in 2009.Ron Mills was the head of the cabinet’s Division of Mine Permits, which is a politically-appointed position. The lawsuit he filed against the state alleges he was fired in 2009 for refusing to issue illegal mining permits.Mills disagreed with a policy that said mining companies need to have the legal right to enter only two-thirds of the land being permitted. That policy was instituted during Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s administration in 2007, but Mills said it was illegal and state law actually required companies be legally able to access all of the land being permitted.The negotiations that led up to the settlement are confidential, but the Energy and Environment Cabinet released a copy of the agreement last week. In exchange for the payment of $270,000 to Mills, the state doesn’t admit liability or any wrongdoing, and Mills agreed to drop the lawsuit.