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West Virginia subpoenas Alpha Natural lenders over coal mine reclamation

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection subpoenaedAlpha Natural Resources Inc.lenders on April 26 to produce documents concerning the company's ability to postbond and meet coal mine reclamation obligations, according to bankruptcy court filings.

The subpoenas seek information on the ability of the companyto reclaim and treat water at its mines in West Virginia and demand to see whetherprovisions existed for proposed buyersof its assets to meet environmental and regulatory compliance obligations, amongother things.

According to a WVDEP spokeswoman, the agency subpoenaed hedgefunds and first-lien lenders WhiteboxAdvisors LLC, BlueMountainCapital Management LLC, EatonVance Corp., Midtown Acquisitions LP, Sankaty Advisors LLC, and .

Coal companies restructuring in bankruptcy court have seen similarcourt action in other states as governments seek to ensure that reclamation requirementsare still met after assets are sold off.

The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy a limited objection to thesale by Alpha of "two substantial mining complexes" on April 13 to ensurereclamation obligations on those assets are met.

In January the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation andEnforcement ordered theWyoming Department of Environmental Quality to investigate whether Alpha and comply with bondingapplications in that state.