Feds pull permit for strip mining expansion

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Federal officials have blocked International Coal Group from expanding a mountaintop removal operation in eastern Kentucky.

Environmental groups challenged the permit saying the expansion would bury streams and creeks leading into the Kentucky River, a water source for more than a million people.

A federal lawsuit filed last month by the Sierra Club and Kentucky Waterway Alliance alleged that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the Clean Water and the National Environmental Protection acts. A permit was issued that allowed ICG to expand its 960-acre mine in Leslie County by roughly 1,000 acres and construct valley fills.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)