Two U.S. Department of Interior agencies have agreed in federal court in Charleston, West Virginia to reevaluate the potential harm on endangered species nationwide of surface coal mining under a settlement agreement with environmental groups.
In the deal approved by Senior U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver on Friday in the Southern District of West Virginia, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) agreed with a coalition of four green groups led by the Center for Biological Diversity to issue a new biological opinion that will guide implementation of the federal 1977 Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMACRA), which largely regulates surface coal-mining operations. The U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) committed to take action on it within 30 days.
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