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Appalachian Trail battle – Lawsuit opposes mining permit

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Conservation groups filed suit in North Carolina Superior Court on July 21 to stop the operation of a state-approved gravel mine near the Appalachian Trail.

The National Parks Conservation Association, the Appalachian Trail Conference and a group of local landowners filed the suit. They accuse the state of giving Clark Stone Company a mining permit without considering the effects on the trail.

Furthermore, according to the suit, the permit boundaries were designed to circumvent a law requiring the mine to notify adjoining landowners of their right to request a public hearing.

The state Department of the Environment and Natural Resources issued a notice of intent to revoke the permit on April 19, but nothing has been done since then.

The suit names as defendants the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, department secretary Bill Holman, and Charles Gardner, head of the Division of Land Resources.

Other politicians and groups have expressed their support of the suit, including U.S. Senator John Edwards, N.C. Attorney General Mike Easley, the Southern Environmental Law Center and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The hearing is tentatively scheduled for August 21 in Avery County.

For full story, go to Northern Light.

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