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Conservation groups sue over coal mines in Colorado, Montana

Coal Basin
U.S. Geological Survey

Conservation groups filed lawsuits against state environmental agencies in Colorado and Montana this week targeting coal mines in the two states.

Two groups sued Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality on Monday over an approved expansion of the Rosebud Mine, a coal strip mine near the Wyoming border.

On Tuesday, five organizations including the WildEarth Guardians and the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit against Colorado environmental agencies alleging they failed to ensure that the state’s largest coal mine, West Elk Mine, complied with state and federal clean air laws.

The complaint filed in Gunnison County District Court contends that Colorado state officials failed to approve or deny an air pollution permit required by the U.S. government within the 18 months allotted by state law.

The federal permit, granted by state agencies, would allow greater oversight over the mine’s compliance with clean air laws and regulations, ensuring that the company was sufficiently restricting methane emissions. If the state denied the permit application, the mine would have to halt operations.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved.