Last updated: February 19. 2013 5:33PM - 127 Views

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(AP) Bankrupt Patriot Coal will become the first U.S. operator to stop large-scale mountaintop removal mining in Central Appalachia under a historic agreement with three environmental groups.


The deal was struck Thursday and presented to a federal judge.


It comes as part of pollution lawsuits filed by the Sierra Club, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy.


St. Louis-based Patriot must resolve litigation during its bankruptcy proceedings.


It will idle some equipment immediately, phasing out large-scale strip mining. Going forward, it agrees to do only small-scale surface mining near planned or existing underground operations.


The agreement caps how much coal Patriot can produce from surface mines.


Associated Press
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