Review Of Coal Mine Expansion To Continue

New Mexico – A federal review of the potential environmental effects of expanding a coal mining operation on the Navajo reservation will continue.

A panel of federal judges has dismissed an appeal by the mine operator that tried to stop the assessment.

Conservation groups hailed the decision from the three-judge panel with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. The ruling prevents BHP Billiton from expanding its operation on tribal land in northwestern New Mexico while federal regulators re-assess the effects of the Navajo Mine permit on the environment and cultural and historic resources in the area.

The mine covers thousands of acres and produces coal for the Four Corners Power Plant, one of the largest coal-fired generating stations in the U.S.

BHP Billiton says it is reviewing the court's decision.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.