The petition also said the union's interests "cannot adequately be represented" by the lawsuit's current defendants: state and federal officials, as well as industry-related groups which petitioned to join earlier.
In an interview, Roberts said he hopes the judge can be persuaded to expedite the hearing process.
"The 64 miners who have already been laid off at the Dal-Tex mine and their families, along with 300 other miners at that site who will soon lose their jobs, must now face the devastating reality of the court decision," Roberts said.
Combined with changes imposed by the federal Clean Air Act and a proposed international treaty on global warming, "the Dal-Tex decision sends a clear message that all West Virginians must unite to protect our jobs and our state's economy," Roberts said.
One group of industry supporters convoyed to Charleston from Logan. With horns blaring and flags waving, more than 100 vehicles circled the federal courthouse before heading to the Capitol.
Supporters carried signs lambasting the EPA, environmentalists, The Charleston Gazette and some of the Logan County residents who brought the lawsuit challenging the legality of mountaintop removal mining.
"Protect the species at the top of the foodchain," said one sign.
Industry executives contend that the legal dispute over Arch's proposed Spruce No. 1 mine has effectively shut down all mine permitting.
Very few new mining permits were issued in 1998, and none have been issued at all in 1999, said West Virginia Coal Association Vice President Chris Hamilton.
Those delays could force the layoff of another 1,000 miners in 10 counties, Hamilton said.