ACLC and co-counsels argued last week that federal regulators violated the law by not considering potential health dangers from the Stacy Branch surface mine near the Knott-Perry County line.
The environmental groups told the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Lexington, Kentucky, that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was supposed to evaluate the potential impact of the proposed mine on human health but did not.
The state of Kentucky is not required to consider such health effects when approving mining permits, despite evidence that surface mining exposes nearby residents to higher risks of cancer, kidney disease, birth defects and other health problems. The groups argued that, despite the fact that Kentucky has authority to issue permits for surface mining, the Corps’ responsibility to assess health impacts cannot be neglected.
The case represents a concerted effort to open a new front in the fight against the health effects of surface mining. It could be several months before the appeals panel rules.