By DANICA KIRKA
LONDON (AP) — The U.K. has opened a public inquiry into plans for the country’s first new deep coal mine in three decades amid complaints that permitting the project would send the wrong message as the government seeks to persuade other countries to give up coal. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick ordered the investigation in March, saying the project may conflict with the government’s target for reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Local planning officials in northwest England had previously approved the project proposed by West Cumbria Mining. The company wants to mine about 3 million tons of coking coal at the site annually, creating 532 direct and 1,618 supply chain jobs. Coking coal is used in making steel, not as fuel for factories and power plants.