Coal Tattoo

WVDEP ordered to set permit limits for conductivity

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Word just coming in this afternoon that the West Virginia Environmental Quality Board has ruled for the Sierra Club in a major permit appeal that put the spotlight on conductivity pollution from strip mines and on the U.S. EPA’s effort to crack down on mountaintop removal.

Board members unanimously ordered the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to add permit limits for conductivity — and also for sulfates and total dissolved solids, or TDS — to the permit for and International Coal Group permit in Monongalia County.

We’ve written about this permit before, here, and explained:

ICG subsidiary Patriot Mining’s New Hill West Mine would cover about 225 acres, and discharge pollution under a modification to an existing Clean Water Act permit that covers five other adjacent mine sites. In its appeal, the Sierra Club argued that DEP wrongly did not perform detailed studies of the mine’s potential water quality impacts, and ignored the need for specific water discharge limits for electrical conductivity, total dissolved solids and sulfates.

We’ll have more on this in tomorrow’s Gazette.

UPDATED:  Here’s a link to Friday morning’s Gazette story, and here’s a link to a transcript of the EQB’s ruling.