Five nonprofit groups are suing the Usibelli Coal Mine company, claiming it's operating its Wishbone Hill prospect in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough without a valid permit.
The groups claimed Tuesday the state issued five-year mining permits to a company in 1991 but that mining did not commence in a required time period and the permits should have been terminated, not transferred to Usibelli.
The groups are seeking an injunction to stop mining. A Usibelli spokeswoman was not immediately available.
The groups include Friends of Mat-Su, Castle Mountain Coalition, Cook Inletkeeper, Alaska Community Action on Toxics and the Alaska chapter of the Sierra Club.
The federal lawsuit filed in Anchorage acknowledges Sutton's mining past but says the current economy is based on tourism.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.