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M.L. Johnson Family Properties, LLC v. Zinke

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20048
Nos. 7:16-CV-6-KKC, (E.D. Ky., 03/21/2018) (Caldwell, C.J.)

A district court upheld a surface coal mining permit issued to a company even though the cotenant objected to any mining on the property. The company cotenant conveyed the right to enter and surface mine coal to an affiliate, but the other cotenant did not consent to surface mining. Nevertheless, the affiliate received a surface mining permit from Kentucky, which has an approved program under SMCRA. SMCRA unambiguously permits a right of entry to be determined based on all relevant state law. Here, Kentucky cotenancy law allows a single cotenant to consent to surface mining over the objection of other tenants in common. Thus, the permit was proper.