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Alpha, DEP Resolve Mine Reclamation Bond Dispute

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Coal operator Alpha Natural Resources and West Virginia regulators have agreed on a deal resolving a dispute over the company's mine reclamation bonds.

Bristol, Virginia-based Alpha asked a bankruptcy court on Monday to approve a consent order with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Alpha's filing says the company issued self-bonds to cover more than $244 million in reclamation obligations. After Alpha filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August, it told the DEP that it might no longer meet criteria for self-bonding. The agency ordered Alpha to replace the self-bonds with other forms of bonding.

Under the consent order, Alpha agreed to reduce its self-bonded obligations and continue reclaiming mining operations. The company also will provide financial commitments totaling $39 million to back its remaining self-bonded obligations.

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