Patriot Coal to stop mountaintop removal mining - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Patriot Coal to stop mountaintop removal mining

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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 in Huntington.

It stems from 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.

In exchange, it gets more time to install selenium treatment systems at several mines.

The agreement caps how much coal Patriot can produce from surface mines and requires it to withdraw two valley-fill permit applications.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)