Developer accused of wildcat mining

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Federal authorities have cited a prominent East Tennessee developer for illegally strip-mining coal at a gated, luxury golf resort under construction in Campbell County.

The U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement issued a notice of violation to Rarity Mountain, one of the Rarity Community developments headed up by Mike Ross, records show.

The development firm must cease mining, post a reclamation bond and submit corrective plans by Aug. 24, according to documents obtained by The Knoxville News Sentinel.

Rarity's lawyer, Bruce Hill, said the coal was unintentionally unearthed during excavations for the development's golf course. He said the company would comply with any federal directives, including reclamation of the mine pit.

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

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