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Judge Grants Temporary Injunction, Environmental Groups Appeal Kentucky Mine Decision


A judge has temporarily halted work at a surface mine in Eastern Kentucky, while he considers an appeal.Environmental groups including Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and Earthjustice are appealing last month’s decision that the Army Corps of Engineers acted appropriately when it permitted a mine in Eastern Kentucky. The groups had sued the Corps for issuing the permit, despite a growing body of evidence that suggests surface mining is associated with numerous human health effects.Jennifer Chavez is an attorney for Earthjustice.“The science is becoming clearer and clearer, every day,” she said. “We think it’s time for the Corps to go ahead and take responsibility for those impacts and at least consider them before issuing permits for mining in streams.”Chavez said her group wants the Obama Administration to take responsibility for the health issues associated with surface coal mining.“All of the agencies involved in permitting these activities are pointing at each other and saying that someone else is responsible for considering the health impacts,” she said. “And we are trying to make clear that it’s not only a legal responsibility, but a moral one for the government to step up and take responsibility for these impacts.”The environmental groups are appealing the decision to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. A judge granted a temporary injunction at the mine to stop work, but will decide soon whether to grant a longer injunction.

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