Not So Fast

The British government's abrupt announcement that it would close 31 of the country's 50 active coal mines seemed at first only a political blunder. Industry and Trade Minister Michael Heseltine's decision last October drew public and parliamentary fury that forced him to announce that, on second thought, only 10 mines would be closed in the short term. In the judgment of Britain's High Court, even that order was "unlawful and irrational," since Heseltine failed to consult with miners and unions as required by law. The government must start its closure proceedings all over again.

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