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Butler mining company claims state and federal officials illegally holding onto its money

| Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, 1:48 p.m.

A Butler county mining company claims in a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday that state and federal officials are illegally holding onto $317,336 of its money.

Amerikohl Mining Inc. of Butler says in the lawsuit that the federal Fish and Wildlife Service required it to pay the money into the state's Indiana Bat Conservation Fund to get permits for the Alexander and Kozora surface coal mines in New Sewickley, Beaver County.

The federal agency has since acknowledged the Pennsylvania-only regulation is unenforceable, the lawsuit says.

The company asked the state Game Commission to return the money, but the state agency's lawyer said it can't do so without authorization from the federal agency, the lawsuit says. The federal agency has refused to authorize the refund, the lawsuit says.

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