USA – State agency sued over mining permit

USA – State agency sued over mining permit
Published: 30 September 2003

Four environmental groups – Missouri Coalition for the Environment, the Ozark Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Webster Groves Nature Study Society and the American Bottom Conservancy – have sued the Land Reclamation Commission for granting a surface mining permit to Holcim Inc for its proposed cement works in Ste Genevieve County. Holcim was granted permission to mine limestone at the site on 12 August 2003.

The lawsuit states the permit was considered in an illegal, closed meeting and the law used by the Land Reclamation Commission was unconstitutional. Missouri's Sunshine Law requires that all meetings of public bodies be open, although exceptions can be made under certain circumstances. Therefore, the groups have asked the St Louis County Circuit Court to invalidate the law and to vacate the decision.

Nancy Tully, a spokeswoman for Holcim, said company officials had not seen the suit but considered it another attempt to delay construction of the plant. She said the permit's issuance should be upheld.