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Argued November 6, 2000

No one may engage in surface coal mining without a permit issued pursuant to the Surface Mining Reclamation and Control Act, 30 U.S.C. � 1201 et seq., and the regulations thereunder. Under the Act, States administer permit programs approved by the Secretary of the Interior as consistent with federal laws and regulations. See National Mining Ass’n v. United States Dep’t of the Interior, 70 F.3d 1345, 1347 (D.C. Cir. 1995). The questions initially presented in this appeal dealt with the validity of several federal regulatory requirements imposed on permit applicants, and the procedures for contesting the accuracy of information used to determine permit eligibility. After oral argument, the Interior Department revised many of these regulations, and so we are faced with additional questions concerning the extent to which the case is now moot.

Some of the original regulations stemmed from a consent decree requiring the Interior Department to “establish and maintain a computerized system” to track applicants and violators, in order to enforce 30 U.S.C. � 1260(c). See Save Our Cumberland Mountains v. Clark, No. 81-2134, 1985 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22934, at *1-*4 (D.D.C. Jan. 31, 1985); Save Our Cumberland Mountains v. Watt, 550 F. Supp. 979, 980 (D.D.C. 1982), rev’d, 725 F.2d 1434 (D.C. Cir. 1984). Section 1260(c) provides that a permitting authority may not issue a permit if “the schedule [attached to the permit application] or other information available to the regulatory authority indicates that any surface coal mining operation owned or controlled by the applicant is currently in violation of this chapter … [unless] … the applicant submits proof that such violation has been corrected or is in the process of being corrected.” 30 U.S.C. � 1260(c).

 
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