An emergency motion was filed by the mine’s operator, Navajo Transitional Energy, just days after a federal district court halted its initial request. The appeals court denied the motion Thursday, April 16, noting that the group “failed to make the requisite showing” to justify their request to operate.
“The party requesting a stay bears the burden of showing that the circumstances justify an exercise of [this court’s] discretion,” the judge noted in the documentation.
The first order, which subsequently led to the emergency motion, was signed by Judge John Kane April 6, and itself followed his March decision to reject the Office of Surface Mining’s 2012 approval of the mine’s expansion for violations of the National Environmental Policy Act as well as a failure to analyze public health and environmental issues and endangered species.
While another federal review of Area IV followed, opponents to the expansion of the San Juan County mine – primarily a group of environmentalists including the Sierra Club – called the resulting report “deeply flawed.”
While the NTEC did not publicly comment on the most recent decision, it previously told the Associated Press that any ruling to halt mining could jeopardize the mine’s long-term sustainability as well as that of the Four Corners Power Plan, which burns coal exclusively from the Navajo complex.
The 1500-megawatt Four Corners facility, built in 1962, provides electricity to California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
A copy of the appeals court decision is available here.