Judge rejects environmental challenge to new coal mine

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A federal judge refused to stop the embattled owner of Crandall Canyon mine from opening another coal mine in central Utah's Emery County.

U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball ruled against an environmental group that sought to keep UtahAmerican Energy Inc. from preparing to mine coal at the Lila Canyon mine. The company has said opening that mine was crucial in the aftermath of the August collapses at its Crandall Canyon mine that killed nine people.

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance said UtahAmerican Energy would harm vegetation and soil at the site.

Cryptobiotic soil is formed by bacteria, lichens and other tiny organisms that create a crunchy crust on parched land. It can take years to regenerate if damaged.

UtahAmerican hopes to mine up to 4 million tons of coal a year when the Lila Canyon mine is operational.


Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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