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Appeal dismissed in Navajo Mine case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A three-judge panel with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed BHP Billiton’s appeal over permitting for a coal mine on the Navajo reservation in northwestern New Mexico.

The judges say they have no jurisdiction since a lower court sent the case back to the federal agency in charge of permitting the Navajo Mine for further review.

BHP Billiton is reviewing the ruling.

Conservation groups are hailing the dismissal.

The San Juan Citizens Alliance and Dine Citizens Against Ruining our Environment sued in 2007, claiming the U.S. Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement violated federal laws when renewing the mine’s permit in 2004 and approving a revised permit in 2005.

They argue an environmental impact statement needs to be done before the revised permit can be approved.

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