Groups sue over Pike County mining

Two environmental groups have sued a coal company, claiming it mined around Pike County streams without a federal permit.

The suit against Clintwood Elkhorn Mining Co., a subsidiary of TECO Coal Corp., was filed Tuesday by the Sierra Club and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.

The suit says that sometime before March 20, the company began discharging fill material into headwater streams of Millers Creek near Fishtrap Lake without a "404 permit." Such permits are required from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers when streams are impacted by mining.

A spokesman for TECO earlier said that the company mined the area by mistake and that it reported the error to federal officials long before the environmental groups discovered it.

The suit, filed in federal district court for the eastern district of Kentucky, asks that the company be found in violation of the law, that it be fined, and that be ordered to "perform mitigation to offset the loss of aquatic resources from its unpermitted resources."

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader