Bankruptcy Judge OKs Alpha’s Bond with West Virginia

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – A bankruptcy judge has approved a deal resolving a reclamation bond dispute between coal operator Alpha Natural Resources and West Virginia regulators.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin R. Huennekens’ order says the agreement is fair and equitable.

The order filed Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Virginia, overruled an objection by several environmental groups.

Under the agreement, Alpha will reduce its self-bonded obligations and provide $39 million in financial commitments to back its remaining obligations.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection had ordered Alpha to replace the self bonds with other forms of bonding after the company said it might no longer meet criteria for self-bonding. Alpha contended that the DEP didn’t have the authority under bankruptcy law to require it to replace the bonds.