The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act prohibits surface mining in a number of areas, including near schools and graveyards and in National Parks, unless the mining rights were “valid existing rights” prior the enactment of the statute. In 1999, the Office of Surface Mining issued a final agency rule which provided that mining companies had to have had mining permits, or made a good faith effort to obtain them, at the time of the enactment in order to have valid existing rights to mine. The National Mining Association then filed a lawsuit to challenge the rule. After the D.C. Circuit upheld the rule, the Association filed a petition seeking Supreme Court review.
Public Citizen served as co-counsel for respondent Kentucky Resources Council, Inc., an intervenor in the litigation, to prepare the brief in opposition to the petition. The Supreme Court denied the petition.