Closings: Schools, churches, day-cares and businesses

Illinois AG mulling legal case over delayed coal mine rules

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ST. LOUIS, MO (AP) – The Illinois Attorney General’s Office is considering legal action against the state’s natural resources agency for what prosecutors call a failure to follow the terms of a court-brokered plan to toughen oversight of Illinois coal mines.

The tougher regulations were part of broader reforms announced two years ago. They followed criticisms by environmentalists that the state Department of Natural Resources was too cozy with mining companies it regulates.

The rules included a requirement that regulators provide earlier citizen notification of new mine applications and that mine permit applicants attend public hearings.

But the new rules still haven’t been enacted. Environmentalists accuse the agency of holding them “hostage.”

A DNR spokesman says the delay is not due to industry pressure, but a need to package the rules with other pending changes.