The US National Mining Association (NMa) has filed lawsuits against two federal agencies for unlawfully obstructing the permitting of coal mining operations in the Central Appalachian coal region.

The lawsuits have been filed against the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers in US District Court for the District of Columbia.

The lawsuits accuse the federal agencies of illegally restricting water quality permits that allow mountaintop removal and other surface mines to bury streams with excess rock.

The NMA’s lawsuit “contends EPA and the Corps have circumvented clear requirements for public notice and comment of a host of federal statutes and ignored calls for peer-reviewed science as part of a deliberate policy to substitute agency ‘guidance’ for formal rulemaking”.

Environmental groups oppose mountaintop-removal coal mining saying it devastates the environment.