August 16, 2001 – The Center appealed the state of New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division's approval of Salt River Project's permit renewal application for the Fence Lake Mine in western New Mexico. Salt River Project planned to mine more than 80 million tons of coal on 18,000 acres, shipping the coal by railroad 44 miles to its Coronado Generating Plant near St. Johns, Arizona.

August 4, 2003 – Salt River Project announced the abandonment of plans to develop the proposed Fence Lake coal strip mine in western New Mexico.

July 31, 2006 – The Center, along with residents of Kentucky, filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency over its failure to address dangerous deficiencies in the operating permit for the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Paradise coal-fired power plant in western Kentucky.

March 4, 2008 – The Center, the Kentucky Environmental Foundation and the Sierra Club filed suit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service program to force the agency to link its analysis of the impact of East Kentucky Power Cooperative’s proposed power plant with its analysis of the company’s power transmission lines. Unless the power plant and power lines were assessed together, the lawsuit declared, Kentuckians wouldn’t receive a full picture of their dirty impacts.

September 2, 2008 – The Center appealed the Environmental Protection Agency’s July 31, 2008 approval of a Clean Air Act permit to construct and operate the Desert Rock Energy Project. The EPA approved the permit for the proposed 1,500-megawatt coal-fired power plant near Farmington, New Mexico, without first considering its effect on threatened and endangered species, as required by the Endangered Species Act.

November 20, 2008 – The Center, the Sierra Club and two Kentucky residents sued the EPA over its failure to rule on a petition challenging the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Paradise coal-fired power plant operating permit. The petition sought to overturn the plant’s permit due to deficiencies that would contribute to global warming and human health risks.

January 20, 2009 – After the Office of Surface Mining hurriedly issued a “Life-of-Mine” permit allowing Peabody Energy to reopen northeastern Arizona’s controversial Black Mesa coal mine, the Center, Energy Minerals Law Center and Natural Resources Defense Council submitted an appeal.

January 21, 2009 – The Center and nine other groups, represented by Earthjustice, filed an appeal with the Board of Land Appeals urging it to reject the Bureau of Land Management’s approval of the White Pine Energy Station near Ely, Nevada.

February 9, 2009 – Citing growing environmental and economic concerns, NV Energy announced it was abandoning its original plans to construct the Ely Energy Center. It continued plans for transmission-line construction in the same area.

April 27, 2009 – In the face of appeals by the Center and other groups, the EPA asked its Environmental Appeals Board to voluntarily reject its issuance of a permit approving the Desert Rock coal-fired power plant in northwest New Mexico.

May 13, 2009 – The Center filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the Ely Resource Management Plan, a government plan for managing approximately 11.5 million acres of public lands in east-central Nevada. The plan allowed for the sale of public lands for construction of three new coal-fired power plants: the White Pine Energy Station, the Toquop Energy Project and the Ely Energy Center.

July 7, 2009 – The Center, other groups and a western Colorado county filed a legal challenge against the Bush-era Westwide Energy Corridor, a plan that designated energy corridors in 11 western states to promote coal-fired and other fossil fuel-fired power plants.

December 3, 2009 – In response to an appeal by the Center, along with a diverse coalition of tribal and environmental groups, the Environmental Protection Agency withdrew a controversial water permit for Arizona’s massive Black Mesa Coal Complex.

January 8, 2010 – After an appeal by the Center and allies, a judge threw out a permit to expand the Black Mesa Coal Complex.

June 16, 2010 – A coalition of environmental groups, including the Center, called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to establish, for the first time ever, limits on air pollution from coal mines throughout the United States.

October 12, 2010 – Conservation and citizen groups, including the Center, filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining for failing to conduct Endangered Species Act consultations prior to authorizing the renewal of an operating permit for the Navajo Coal Mine in northwest New Mexico.

January 31, 2011 – The Center for Biological Diversity, Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment and San Juan Citizens Alliance sued the Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining for failing to protect the San Juan River ecosystem before allowing additional coal development in northwest New Mexico.

November 2011 – A coalition of conservation groups, including the Center, filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency over its failure to protect public health and the environment from air pollution from coal mines in the United States.

May 15, 2012 – After decades of coal pollution from the 2040-megawatt Four Corners Power Plant and BHP Billiton’s 13,000-acre Navajo Coal Mine that supplies it, Navajo and conservation groups filed suit against the federal government for improperly rubber-stamping a proposal to expand strip-mining without full consideration of the damage and risks to health and the environment. 

Coal mine photo by Bert Kaufmann