A St. Louis-based coal company with mines throughout the region has agreed to phase out its mountaintop removal sites. Patriot Coal agreed to the measure as part of a settlement that grants the company more time to control water pollution at its mines in West Virginia.
Patriot has several underground mines in the western part of Kentucky, as well as the Bluegrass Coal surface mine in Henderson that was already scheduled to close. The closures won't currently affect any of the underground mines. But if other companies face similar lawsuits over mountaintop removal, the practice could cease to be profitable.