Utah agency rules against Alton Coal over legal fees

Posted: Mar 7, 2013

Written by

BRIAN MAFFLY, Salt Lake Tribune
Alton Coal Mine

After a string of administrative victories, Alton Coal Development has been handed a defeat, although one that won’t impede its strip-mine ambitions near Bryce Canyon National Park.

The Utah Board of Oil, Gas and Mining on Wednesday sided with environmentalists and regulators, ruling that coal developers must show their legal adversaries sued in "bad faith" with the intent to harass and embarrass if they want to recoup attorney fees.

The underlying litigation arose in 2009 after state regulators approved Alton’s plans to strip mine 600 acres of private coal at its Coal Hollow site in Kane County. Several conservation groups unsuccessfully contested that approval before the mining board and later in the Utah Supreme Court, which unanimously overruled their claim that the Coal Hollow impacts weren’t properly reviewed.

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