A coalition of environmental groups is suing the federal government, claiming officials violated the Endangered Species Act when they granted mining permits at two East Tennessee mines.
The suit filed in federal court in Nashville on Thursday claims wastewater from surface mines at Zeb Mountain and David Creek threatens the endangered blackside dace and Cumberland darter.
The Sierra Club and other environmental groups claim the Office of Surface Mining and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not use the most up-to-date science in considering the effect of the mines on the fish. They claim that dissolved minerals are increasing the saltiness to intolerable levels in streams where the fish live.
Representatives of the federal agencies did not immediately return calls seeking comment.