Charleston, W.Va. (AP) -- A judge has ruled the Army Corps of Engineers violated federal environmental laws by failing to give the public enough of a say before issuing permits for two mountaintop removal coal mines.
Sierra club spokesman Oliver Bernstein says the decision issued Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Chuck Chambers affects most pending surface mine permits in West Virginia, the nation's no. 2 coal producer.
That would be another setback for the coal industry. The environmental protection agency recently held up 79 mountaintop permits for additional scrutiny.
That has cheered environmental groups that argue the surface mining method should be banned.
Chambers ordered the corps to correct the problem with the permits given to subsidiaries of Consol Energy and Penn Virginia Resources.
Neither had immediate comment.
(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
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