Coal Tattoo

W.Va. board temporarily blocks ICG mine

Word is just coming in that West Virginia’s Environmental Quality Board has temporarily blocked a water pollution permit for International Coal Group subsidiary Patriot Mining Company’s New Hill West Mine up in Monongalia County.

I’ve posted a copy of the board’s order here, a copy of a motion for stay here and International Coal Group’s response to that motion here.

Sierra Club lawyers sought the temporary stay because the company had planned to begin blasting tomorrow, and a hearing on the group’s appear of the water pollution permit was not scheduled to begin until mid-December.

The water permit in question already covers discharges from five previously approved surface mining permits, and now Patriot Mining wants to add another 225-acre operation that would discharge into Scotts Run of the Monongahela River drainage.

If you take a minute and read the original notice of appeal filed by the Sierra Club, you’ll see that this case has the potential to be pretty darned interesting. The appeal cites, among other things, what the Sierra Club says it the mine’s inability to meet  EPA’s major guidance document on conductivity.

The appeal raises issues about the mine’s possible electrical conductivity pollution, selenium discharges, and toxicity testing, all issues that are being pushed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is part of its crackdown on mountaintop removal.