3:15pm

Fri October 12, 2012
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Enviro. Groups Challenge Mountain Top Mining in Tenn.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Environmental groups are challenging a state permit for a mountaintop removal mining operation in East Tennessee.

The Sierra Club and two other groups filed an administrative appeal yesterday with state environmental regulators. The petition says the permit from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation doesn’t meet federal clean water standards.

The Zeb Mountain mining site in Campbell and Scott counties is operated by National Coal. It’s the largest mountaintop mining site in Tennessee.

Attorney Mary Mastin is chair of the Club’s legal committee. She says this is the second permit TDEC has issued in four years of litigation.

“I’m just very surprised that TDEC has finally issued the renewal permit that has weaker limits, that doesn’t do as much to protect the water quality as it relates to selenium.”

The first permit TDEC issued for the site was challenged by National Coal.