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Breaking: Judge rules for Alpha in permit case

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Word just in from Huntington that U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers has ruled in favor of the federal Army Corps of Engineers and Alpha Natural Resources in a challenge to the Clean Water Act permit for Alpha’s Highland Reylas Surface Mine.

I’ve posted a copy of the decision here, and you can read previous coverage of this case here, here and here. We’ll have a more complete report on the Gazette’s website in a bit and in tomorrow’s print edition.

UPDATED: Here’s a link to the Saturday Gazette-Mail print story on Judge Chambers’ ruling. And here’s a response to the ruling from Alpha Natural Resources:

We’re very pleased with the ruling and are thankful for the hard work and thoughtful analysis from the Court.  We firmly believed in our position, and the fact we had undergone a thorough review as required under the Clean Water Act of all aspects of the mine, as well as the fact that we are obligated to fulfill extensive requirements as we mine. The team of professionals at the Corps of Engineers is to be commended for their diligent review and attention to detail in issuing a permit that adequately protects the environment while preserving the ability of the mine to operate. We hope this decision will bring some certainty to the Section 404 permitting process in West Virginia.