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United States v. Lambert Coal Co.

Citation: 17 ELR 20848
No. No. 82-0350-A, 649 F. Supp. 1470/25 ERC 1739/(W.D. Va., 12/23/1986)

The court holds that the federal regulations promulgated in 1982 pursuant to § 402 of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) can be retroactively applied. The court first holds that the 1982 regulations did not overrule or change the settled law as defined by the regulations that applied to defendant's operation prior to 1982. Rather, the 1982 regulations clarified the regulations that were promulgated in 1979. The court also holds that the mines at issue are closely related. The court notes that in a situation that presents a borderline question, it must construe the ambiguity in favor of the mine owner/operator since the uncertainty works to his/her disadvantage. Finally, the court holds that because the combined area of the mines is greater than two acres, the mines do not qualify for SMCRA's two-acre exemption.

Counsel for Plaintiff
David W. McNabb II
Office of the Field Solicitor
P.O. Box 15006, Knoxville TN 37901
(615) 673-4226

Counsel for Defendant
William Rogers McCall
510 Cumberland St., P.O. Box 82, Bristol VA 24203
(703) 466-4000