Coal Tattoo

Judge Chambers orders Patriot to treat selenium

We’re just getting word about a major ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers in the case over selenium pollution from Patriot Coal operations in Southern West Virginia.

Ruling from the bench at a hearing this afternoon, Judge Chambers held Patriot’s Apogee Coal subsidiary in contempt of court for not meeting earlier deadlines to clean up selenium discharges from its Ruffner Mine in Logan County.

The judge ordered Patriot to install the FBR treatment system — which uses bugs that eat the selenium — within 2 1/2 years at Ruffner and also to install treatment within 2 years and 8 months at its Hobet 22 Mine along the Boone-Lincoln County line.

Judge Chambers also ordered the company to post within two weeks a $45 million letter of credit that would ensure the treatment systems are installed. The judge also plans to appoint a special master to oversee the situation.

See previous coverage of these cases here, here and here.


Here’s a link to today’s Gazette print story about Judge Chambers’ selenium ruling.