Patriot Coal to stop mountaintop removal mining

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Associated Press

Posted on November 15, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 15 at 9:01 PM

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Bankrupt Patriot Coal will become the first U.S. operator to stop large-scale mountaintop removal mining in Central Appalachia under a historic agreement with three environmental groups.

The deal was struck Thursday and presented to a federal judge.

It comes as part of pollution lawsuits filed by the Sierra Club, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy.

St. Louis-based Patriot must resolve litigation during its bankruptcy proceedings.

It will idle some equipment immediately, phasing out large-scale strip mining. Going forward, it agrees to do only small-scale surface mining near planned or existing underground operations.

The agreement caps how much coal Patriot can produce from surface mines.

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