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Former mining official settles lawsuit with Ky.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- A former state mining official who alleged he was fired for opposing illegal coal mining practices has reached a $270,000 settlement with Kentucky's Energy and Environment Cabinet.

Ron Mills was Kentucky's director of mine permits but was fired in November 2009. He later filed a suit saying he was wrongly terminated.

A settlement document released on Wednesday says the agreement ends the lawsuit and that negotiations during the settlement talks would remain confidential.

Mills opposed a state policy that grants mining permits to coal operators before they had obtained rights to enter mine property from all property owners on the permit. He said the policy was illegal and stopped it in August 2008 before it was reinstated the next year.