In his motion, Wolfe said that the closing of the mine will "cause financial losses of approximately $19.4 million for the remainder of 1999, and $21.7 million and $18.7 million, respectively, for the following years."
In a five-page document filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Charleston, environmental lawyer Joe Lovett said that Arch Coal, DEP and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have had plenty of time to fix problems with the Pigeonroost Branch permit.
"The real cause of the harm to miners and their families is Hobet's inadequate permit application, and the DEP's and the Corps' illegal permitting practices," Lovett wrote.
"Since plaintiffs sent their notice letter in April 1998, Hobet, DEP and the Corps have had a year to reform and correct their illegal practices. They failed to do so," Lovett wrote. "Although the Complaint was filed on July 16, 1998, neither Hobet nor DEP have taken any steps to bring the application into compliance with the law."
Lovett argued that environmentalist would not have time to interview witnesses, review documents, obtain expert reports, and otherwise prepare for the trial any sooner than September.
Lovett also wrote that his clients are not trying to stop all coal mining in West Virginia, and settled part of their case against the Corps to allow smaller strip mines to be permitted.
"Plaintiffs are not attempting to halt surface coal mining in West Virginia, but are only attempting to force the agencies and the industries to follow the law," Lovett wrote.