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Associated Press , Published September 05 2013

Federal judge says ND PSC didn't violate law

BISMARCK — A federal judge says North Dakota's Public Service Commission didn't violate federal law governing surface mining.

The Dakota Resource Council had argued in a lawsuit that the PSC failed to get necessary approval for changes to state coal mining and reclamation policies.

Government lawyers disputed that, and U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland this week sided with them.

North Dakota is one of about two dozen coal-producing states allowed to regulate surface mining operations, provided state laws are at least as stringent as federal law.

A separate lawsuit that is pending aims to stop the PSC from regulating the mining industry. The Dakota Resource Council and Sierra Club accuse Commissioner Brian Kalk and former commissioner Kevin Cramer of taking improper campaign money from coal mining officials. Kalk and Cramer dispute that.


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