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Voigt v. Coyote Creek Mining Co., LLC

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20254
Nos. 18-2705, (8th Cir., 11/20/2020)

The Eighth Circuit affirmed, 2-1, a ruling in favor of a mining company in a challenge to the company's failure to obtain a CAA construction permit for a mine in rural North Dakota. The owners of an adjacent ranch argued that the company failed to obtain the proper permit under the CAA and failed to implement the requisite dust control plan for the mine. The district court concluded that federal regulations imposing permitting and dust control requirements did not apply to the company's operations, and granted summary judgment for the company. The appellate court found that the regulations were ambiguous regarding whether the coal pile at the mine was part of the coal processing plant, and thus agreed with the district court that the best interpretive aid was the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDOH) permitting decision concluding that the pile was not part of the plant and not subject to the regulations. It therefore held that the district court appropriately gave deference to the NDDOH permitting decision and did not err in granting summary judgment to the mining company.