Department of Interior Administrative Law Judge Vacates Mining Permit for Black Mesa Coal Mine
January 11, 2010
On January 7, Navajo and Hopi residents and a diverse coalition of tribal and environmental groups achieved another major victory when, in response to the residents and groups’ appeals, an Administrative Law Judge for the U.S. Department of the Interior vacated a permit for Peabody’s massive Black Mesa mine. In the order, the Judge agreed that the “life of mine” permit—which authorized and expanded mining operations at Black Mesa beyond 2026—violated the National Environmental Policy Act. This decision represents a major setback for Peabody’s massive coal mine complex, the company must now apply for a new mine permit and develop an adequate environmental impact statement for the project.
December 1, 2009
In response to an appeal brought by a diverse coalition of tribal and environmental groups, including Sierra Club, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has withdrawn a controversial water permit for Peabody’s Black Mesa Complex, a massive coal mine complex located on Navajo Nation and Hopi lands in northeastern Arizona.
The coalition’s appeal of Peabody’s permit cited violations of the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act, in addition to alleging that the EPA failed to adequately analyze the environmental impacts of leaky waste ponds and did not provide residents with adequate opportunities for public participation.
EPA’s permit withdrawal affirms that discharges of heavy metal and toxic pollutants from coal mining operations at the Black Mesa Complex are threatening tributaries, groundwater and drinking water for local communities. The Black Mesa Mine Complex has a history of controversy stemming from concerns about air and water pollution, impacts to local people and coal pollution’s contribution to global warming, and this decision ensures better protections for local communities and the environment.
Details and Documents:
Administrative Law Judge Order
U.S. Department of the Interior, January 5, 2010
Hopi and Navajo Residents Stop Peabody’s Coal Mine Expansion on Black Mesa
News Release, January 8, 2010
Pollution Permit for Black Mesa Coal Mine Withdrawn
Press Release, December 2, 2009
Life of mine permit for Black Mesa withdrawn
January 12, 2010, Navajo-Hopi Observer
Department of the Interior judge vacates a controversial permit
January 11, 2010 by Carol Berry, Indian Country Today
Judge deals setback to Peabody mine permit
January 8, 2010, arizonadailysun.com
See other "Stopping Mountaintop Removal and Other Destructive Mining" cases.