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Darty Dev. Co. v. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation & Enforcement

Citation: 16 ELR 20721
No. No. 85-C-0566-J, 632 F. Supp. 627/24 ERC 1414/(N.D. Ala., 04/15/1986)

The court holds that the Secretary of the Interior properly ordered the cessation of mining activities at a mine granted a government-financed exemption under Alabama's approved Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) program but not actually receiving any money from government sources. The court holds that there is substantial evidence to support the decision of the Secretary, who was acting through the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM). Under Alabama's approved SMCRA program, a mining permit is not required for surface mining operations that are incidental to government-financed construction. The exemption for the site in question was granted with the understanding that mining operation would cease if construction or extraction occurred outside the government-financed construction site. The record supports OSM's finding that the state was not financing 50 percent of the construction as originally agreed. The administrative law hearing found that the city had, in fact, not appropriated any funds. The court observes that although Alabama's program has been approved by OSM, the federal agency retains the right to issue cessation orders where a mining operation poses a significant, imminent environmental threat to land, air, or water resources.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Edward R. Jackson
Tweedy, Jackson & Beech
1st Nat'l Bk. Bldg., Jasper AL 35501
(205) 384-5624

Counsel for Defendants
Charles Gault, Special Ass't U.S. Attorney
Office of Field Solicitors
P.O. Box 872, Knoxville TN 37901
(615) 673-4561