State environmental regulators have made first use of broader powers, ordering National Coal Corp. to halt some of its mining on Zeb Mountain.
The Environment and Conservation Department also ordered the company to pay $173,000 in fines for mining through two streams without first getting water quality permits.
A recent change in state law gives regulators authority to stop work when inspectors determine mines have polluted streams.
A lawyer for National Coal says the stop work order isn’t necessary and says company permits for the mine are in order.
The coal mining operation is in Scott and Campbell counties, northwest of Knoxville near the Kentucky state line.
National Coal can appeal to the state Water Quality Control Board.
Nashville lawyer Bill Penny, outside legal counsel to the company, says he hopes a negotiated settlement can be reached.
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