Coal mining companies have faced a major setback this week when a federal court ruled against the companies in a lawsuit over the coal-fired power plant closures that took place earlier this year.
The court ruled that the companies could not have used an “unreasonable” delay in closing the mine sites as the “precautionary principle” for the safety of the workers and the public.
The ruling was a major blow to the companies that had been leading the fight to save coal-burning power plants across the U.A.E. It was also a significant blow to President Donald Trump, who said during the presidential campaign that coal was the “single greatest threat to our planet” and vowed to stop it.
The coal industry, led by the American Coal Council, said the ruling is a setback to its efforts to save the industry and said it will appeal the decision.
“This is a very, very, bad day for coal,” said Michael Brune, executive vice president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a coal industry trade group.
“The court, in its order today, said that because it is a non-binding finding, we are not required to file an appeal.
That’s a major disappointment.”
The coal companies argued that they were under no legal obligation to close the mine after a March 7 court order and the mine closed in April.
The order was issued by the U,S.
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The mine had been owned by United Coal and operated by Western Resources since the late 1970s.
A group of coal companies and the Environmental Protection Agency were involved in the case, which began as a dispute over how much power was being sent to a coal mine owned by the coal companies in Virginia.
The EPA sued to block the coal mines coal-by-rail shipment of toxic slurry to a power plant in West Virginia and ultimately won a $4.5 billion court settlement in the District.
“We’re disappointed, but we’re also very pleased that the court has upheld the rule that’s been in place for nearly 25 years,” said Bill Anderson, an attorney for the American Mining Association, the coal industry’s main trade group in Washington.
The Trump administration had argued that the coal mining companies could have used a “pre-reasoned” delay to avoid the closure, but the court ruled in favor of the companies.
The decision came as the administration is weighing new regulations to help keep coal-powered plants running, including a ban on new coal plants being built and a plan to cut the number of coal-related power plants from about 3,000 to 1,000.
The administration has said the coal plants are safe and that it would not approve any new coal-based power plants.
It also has been pushing to close or restructure two other coal-dependent power plants, the Chesapeake Energy Co. and Peabody Energy Corp. In a letter to Trump on Thursday, the Environmental Defense Fund, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, said it was pleased the court had sided with the coal miners.
“Our message is clear: the Trump administration must do the right thing, not the easy thing, to keep coal in America,” said Jeff Ruch, president of EDF.
“There is no justification for a delay to protect the safety and health of our miners.”
The judge in the coal mine case ruled that coal companies could use the “unreasoned delay” as a reasonable measure of safety.
“Even if the mine operators could not demonstrate that the delay was unreasonable, the court finds that they could show that the reasonable delay did not substantially interfere with the safe operation of the mine,” the judge wrote.
The American Coalition of Mining Industries, which represents the coal operators, had argued in court that coal-coal production is already under severe strain due to climate change and that the company could not afford to keep producing coal-generated electricity at the mines.
The U.N. agency that regulates mining in the U.-A.U.E., the International Energy Agency, said in a report this week that coal mining would be the most significant economic driver in the next 25 years if the U-A.D.C. did not phase out the use of coal by 2030.
“Today’s ruling is yet another blow to our efforts to protect America’s economy and the environment,” said Tom Rath, president and CEO of the Coalition for a Clean Economy, which supports the coal trade.
“It is unconscionable that coal, which is one of the most important economic drivers in the United States, can be sold off to foreigners with no public safety or environmental benefit.”