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West Virginia Coal Mines Not Penalized for Polluting Waterways - Environmentalists

Coal News - Published on Tue, 11 Jun 2019

Image Source: Insurance Journal
Environmental groups citing, Reuters reported that Several West Virginia coal mines, including some owned by the governor’s family, have released many times the allowable amounts of pollutants into nearby waterways in recent years without being penalized by regulators. The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Sierra Club and others sent “notice of intent to sue” letters to nine companies operating about 15 coal facilities in the state, including Bluestone Resources, owned by the family of Governor Jim Justice, and coal magnate Robert Murray’s Murray Energy, for what they said were “egregious violations” of federal laws.

The letters cited routine reports that the mines had submitted to state regulators dating back to 2016 showing frequent exceedances of toxic releases into nearby waterways.

Murray’s data from its Harrison County coal mine, for example, showed it has discharged as much as 220 times the allowable 30-day average limit of aluminum into the Ohio and West Fork rivers in September 2018. Bluestone’s Red Fox mine discharged twice as much selenium and 10 times as much aluminum as it is permitted into the Tug Fork River in February 2019 and September 2018.

Reuters verified that the data cited in the letters had been submitted by the companies to state regulators, and were posted in a US Environmental Protection Agency database.

The environmental groups said the companies had violated the federal Clean Water Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act and that there was no evidence that state or federal authorities had penalized them or sought to bring the facilities back into compliance.

Mr Peter Morgan, senior attorney for the Sierra Club, said that “Federal and state regulators continue to look the other way.”

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Tue, 11 Jun 2019
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