HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- A federal judge has temporarily blocked a Clean Water Act permit for a mountaintop removal mine in Boone County.U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers on Friday issued a temporary restraining order against Loadout LLC's Nellis Surface Mine.Chambers issued a three-page order following a hearing in Huntington on a motion brought by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and other citizen groups.Citizen groups argue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated a previous court order by not re-evaluating the entire Loadout permit and not responding to public comments on the mine's mitigation plan.
The judge ruled that mining activity that impacted streams needed to be halted until the court could hold a more detailed hearing on the matter."These activities constitute significant and irreparable environmental damage," the judge wrote. "The public interests at stake justify a temporary maintenance of the status quo."Loadout is a unit of Penn Virginia Resources.