Back in 2010, a handful of community groups sought to join a legal dispute between the state government’s Energy and Enviornment Cabinet and a company, Frasure Creek Mining. A Judge allowed the action, which then complicated the Beshear administration’s Cabinet plan to settle with the mining company… because, you know, the citizens’ groups didn’t want to settle, they wanted justice. Crazy, right?
Beshear’s cabinet and the mining company then filed to remove the citizen’s from the lawsuit so they could do their behind-closed-doors Frankfort wheeling and dealing like normal.
Well the state’s Supreme Court just ruled that in fact the lower court judge was absolutely correct in allowing the groups to join the suit and while your duly elected Governor might see this as a loss, people who appreciate democracy will see it as a victory:
The high court unanimously found that Judge Phillip Shepherd did not err in allowing Appalachian Voices, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Kentucky Riverkeeper, Waterkeeper Alliance and three citizens to take part in a suit brought by the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet against Frasure Creek Mining.
The groups sought to intervene to object to a settlement between the state and Frasure Creek, which operates coal mines in Pike County, over the discharge of pollutants into the Kentucky, Big Sandy and Licking rivers and their tributaries.
You can also read the Supreme Court’s full ruling if you like. Spoiler alert… this is how it ends:
Because the trial court has jurisdiction to permit the Citizen Plaintiffs a limited intervention, and because the propriety of that intervention under Kentucky law can be challenged and assessed in the ordinary course of trial and appeal, the Court of Appeals correctly denied the Cabinet’s and Frasure Creek’s petitions for extraordinary relief. Accordingly, we hereby affirm, the Court of Appeals’ Order in these consolidated cases.
All sitting. All concur.
Boo-hoo for coal bought politicians, woo-hoo for the rest of us.
And to the Supreme Court, Steve says…