Coal Mines

News & Analysis as of

41% Increase in Citations to Mine Operators

Special impact inspections in July that covered 13 states resulted in 161 citations, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has announced. This is a 41-percent increase from the 114 citations issued the previous month....more

A Lumber Mill Biomass CoGen Need Not Consider Other Fuels In Its BACT Analysis. Other Sources Should Be So Lucky.

Ever since EPA began considering how BACT analysis would be applied to greenhouse gas emissions, there has been concern that EPA would use its BACT authority to “redefine the source” – with the particular concern that BACT...more

Coal Plant Shutdowns: Operators Have Cyber Protection Obligations Even After Closing

As Yogi Berra used to say: “It ain’t over till it’s over.” Coal plant operators shutting down their plants should remember this phrase. Even after they throw the breakers, go off the grid, are no longer contributing to the...more

Respirable Coal Dust Samples Prove New Dust Rule Is Achievable, Mine Safety Agency Announces

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has announced that 99 percent of the coal mine dust samples collected from April 1, 2016, through June 30, 2016, were in compliance with its coal mine dust standards requiring lower...more

Unsecured Creditor Perspectives in Energy Restructurings

This Practice Note provides guidance and advice to unsecured creditors in energy restructurings. This Note specifically addresses restructurings in the oil, gas, and coal industries and the strategies that unsecured creditors...more

SC Public Policy Update - April 2016 #5

What's New - SENATE - The Senate had a very active week of floor debate as members worked through the calendar in an attempt to send bills to the House of Representatives before the May 1st crossover deadline. The...more

Elevated Fine Lacks Justification, Mine Safety Agency Attorney Concedes

A government attorney agreed with opposing counsel that the Mine Safety and Health Administration had not justified a proposed 127 percent increase in fines against an Illinois coal operator. The two sides disagreed, however,...more

U.S. Supreme Court Steers Clear of Two Eminent Domain Cases

In the last month, the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear appeals on two eminent domain-related cases. The first case, California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose, is one we discussed last year....more

Congressional Challenges Loom for Clean Power Plan Final Rule

Before the end of the year, federal lawmakers are expected to undertake a series of actions to limit, amend, delay or repeal President Obama's Clean Power Plan (CPP) final rule. The final rule was formally published on Oct....more

Proposed Rule from US Department of the Interior Increases Pressure on Coal Mining Industry

On July 27, 2015, the US Department of the Interior, through its Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), proposed to revise regulations adopted under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of...more

Here We Go Again—The Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act

For the fourth time since the Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion in April 2010, a Congressional bill proposes to further amend the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. The Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act...more

Pennsylvania Bill Promotes Using Mine Water in Hydraulic Fracturing Operations

The process of hydraulic fracturing requires millions of gallons of water. Currently, much of this water is pulled from freshwater sources; however, a recent bill in Pennsylvania making its way through the state legislature...more

Texas Supreme Court Holds that "Reasonable Certainty" Requirement Applies to Claims for "Lost Market Value"

Texas law is well-settled that lost profits can be recovered only when the amount can be proven with "reasonable certainty." A recent Texas Supreme Court case has made clear that this requirement cannot be circumvented by...more

Revision Of Coal Mining Permit By Environmental Group Results In Attorney Fee Award

In Black Mesa v. Jewell, 2015 DJDAR 1050, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that an environmental group was entitled to an award of attorney fees arising out of their challenge to the Office...more

What’s a Court to Do When An Agency Admits Error? Vacate? Remand?

In Black Warrior Riverkeeper v. ACOE, decided this week by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Court was faced with a quandary. “On the eve of oral argument”, in a case challenging The Army Corps of Engineers Nationwide...more

General Permit Shields Mining Company from Liability for Selenium Discharge

In Sierra Club v ICG Hazard , LLC, 2015 WL 643382, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that a Kentucky coal mining company could not be sued by an environmental group for discharging selenium into...more

Environmental Liability: Relief Through Bankruptcy Or Not?

In re Appalachian Fuel, LLC, 521 B.R. 779 (Bankr. E.D. Ky. 2014) – A state department of environmental protection (DEP) filed an administrative expense application in the bankruptcy cases of coal mining debtors for...more

How to use annual leave to respond to market conditions

Mining company Glencore recently reacted to a depressed coal price by announcing a three week shutdown during which employees would be asked to take annual leave. As the Christmas period approaches, all organisations should...more

Rejecting Related Contracts: When Can You Pick and Choose?

In re Trinity Coal Corp., 514 B.R. 526 (Bankr. E.D. Ky. 2014) – The debtors sought to reject easement and disposal agreements with the owners of adjacent coal mines. The adjacent owners objected on the basis that the...more

Mozambique’s New Mining Law: A Re-Balancing Act

Mozambique’s new Mining Law (Law No. 20/2014 of 18 August) introduces changes largely aimed at re-balancing the terms under which mining activities are conducted in favour of Mozambique and Mozambicans, following the trend...more

Ontario Government Responds to Early Results of Mine Safety Review

In December 2013, the province asked Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer to undertake a review of the occupational health and safety issues related to the mining sector, focusing first on underground mines. The review...more

D.C. Circuit Validates EPA’s Consultation Process for Reviewing Clean Water Act Permits

On July 11, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Enhanced Coordination Process,” which was developed with the United...more

Is Death A Defense To CERCLA Liability?

In contrast to the early days of Superfund when no argument for extending CERCLA liability was too far-fetched, the Second Circuit recently rejected one of the all-time “Hail Mary” passes for CERCLA contribution. The case,...more

Inside the Mining Industry: An Arizona Mining Lawyer Discusses Key Challenges, Opportunities & Trends for 2014 and Beyond

Other than market forces, Federal permitting processes continue to be a primary cause of delay for new mines and the expansion of existing mines throughout the United States. The federal government manages a significant...more

Further Clarification On The Constitutionality Of Exported Coal Reclamation Fee Is Delayed

The D.C. Circuit has decided against ruling on the substance of whether the Abandoned Mine Land reclamation fee and the regulatory methods the Office of Surface Mining uses to collect it on exported coal create an...more

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