Patriot Coal to phase out mountaintop removal [View all]
Source: Charleston Gazette
Patriot Coal has agreed to phase out mountaintop removal and other forms of strip mining in a move Patriot officials say is in the best interests of the company and the communities where it operates.
In a deal with citizen groups, Patriot said it would never seek new permits for large-scale surface mining operations, according to details of the settlement revealed during a federal court hearing here this afternoon.
St. Louis-based Patriot can continue some existing and smaller mining projects, but must also implement a cap on surface production and eventually stop all strip mining when existing coal leases expire.
The surprise deal does not require Patriot to immediately close any mines or lay off any workers. The company must cut corporate-wide surface production starting in 2014, and gradually reduce it to no more than 3 million tons annually - less than half of 2011 surface output - by 2018.