The lawsuit asks for a court order that would, in various ways, curb the size and impact of mountaintop removal coal mining. Named as a defendant in the case, along with the Corps, is the state Division of Environmental Protection.
On Friday, lawyers for three Arch Coal Inc. subsidiaries asked that the companies be allowed to intervene in the case.
The subsidiaries are Hobet Mining Inc., Catenary Coal Co. and Mingo-Logan Coal Co. The companies operate large mountaintop removal mines in Boone, Lincoln, Logan, Kanawha and Mingo counties.
In the motion to intervene, Jackson & Kelley lawyer Roger Wolfe wrote that the suit "threatens to substantially affect the value of the companies' property interests in the relevant permits and the underlying mineral rights by impairing or destroying their ability to mine coal under those permits."
Wolfe wrote that if the lawsuit results in any changes in the mountaintop removal regulatory process, "a substantial burden of compliance or the burden of having permits denied would fall" on the companies.
According to Wolfe, the DEP and the Corps cannot adequately defend against the lawsuit to protect the companies' rights.
"As to WVDEP, it regulates the companies' activities, both with respect to the surface mining laws and the water pollution control laws," Wolfe wrote.
"In that capacity, it represents the interests of the public, not private coal companies," he wrote. "The companies' are often adverse to WVDEP on regulatory matters in these areas."