Butler County mining company, agencies settle suit
A Butler County mining company that sued to recover $317,336 from state and federal wildlife officials is declining to discuss the settlement of the lawsuit.
“We have a confidentiality agreement with the state game commission,” said John Stilley, president and CEO of Amerikohl Mining Inc.
Travis Lau, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said the settlement was nonmonetary. He declined to elaborate, also citing the confidentiality agreement.
The company sued the federal Fish and Wildlife Service and game commission to recover money it was required to put into the state's Indiana Bat Conservation Fund so that it could obtain permits for its Alexander and Kozora surface coal mines in New Sewickley, Beaver County.
The federal agency later acknowledged that the Pennsylvania-only regulation was unenforceable, though it remains on the books, and government officials refused to return the company's money, according to the lawsuit filed in 2012.
The Indiana bat was listed as endangered by federal officials in 1967 because people were disturbing hibernating bats in caves during winter, resulting in large numbers of their deaths.
Surface mining is an activity that can affect their habitat, Lau said.
“When there is any land disturbance and activity in an area with endangered species, there are certain restrictions that apply,” Lau said.
If, for example, a company removes trees, a company will pay a “buyout,” Lau said.
The money goes to the Game Commission, which uses it to improve habitats of endangered species.
Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.