Coal Tattoo

Existing headwall of culvert that drains into Bingamon Creek.

Actions by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to force the clean up of a coal-mining spill at a Harrison County coal refuse recovery site have gotten a little bit of media attention in recent weeks.

But there’s a whole lot more to this story, according to a new report put together by the U.S. Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement. And in taking its own actions at this site, OSMRE officials at the agency’s Charleston field office are taking advantage of a new Obama administration policy aimed at improving federal oversight of state mining regulators.

The 38-page report, available here, says that not only were there on-the-ground pollution problems at the Coal Valley LLC site near Enterprise, but also that the WVDEP played a role in those problems by issuing a permit that did not comply with the state’s federally approved program for regulating surface mining operations.

Among the more serious problems:

— The company initially got approval to dispose of runoff by dumping it through a borehole into an old underground mine that had already filled up — meaning there was really no place for the new discharge to go.

— OSM investigators found that the DEP-issued permit had no real concrete and feasible plan for how old coal waste materials from the site would be removed safely, without creating a dangerous new impoundment.

— There was no detailed analysis of the potential for activities of the site to cause localized flooding, and no plan for treating existing acid mine drainage at the site.

“Our big issue with this site is that they don’t have a plan that works for controlling runoff,” Roger Calhoun, director of OSMRE’s Charleston field office, told me this afternoon.

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WVDEP appeals major water quality ruling

Well, WVDEP Secretary Randy Huffman called it the worst ruling I’ve ever seen out of the EQB as far as a lack of respect for the rule of law, so it probably is no surprise that the agency has appeal the state Environmental Quality Board’s decision in the case over International Coal Group’s New Hill West surface mine in Monongalia County.

I’ve posted a copy of the WVDEP appeal, filed in the circuit court of Kanawha County, here.

Among other things, WVDEP lawyers argue in the appeal:

The board’s findings that numerous scientific studies have shown that declines in stream macroinvertebrate communities directly downstream of surface mining operations are caused by the combined effects of heightened concentrations of ions was clearly wrong in the view of the reliable, probative and substantial evidence in the record.

New report out on longwall damage in Pennylvania

The Citizens Coal Council has a new report out today detailing the damage from longwall mining in Pennsylvania:

Key among the Schmid & Company findings is the disproportionately large number of damaging impacts from the longwall mining method compared to the room-and-pillar technique. Longwall mining removes far more coal than the room-and-pillar method and causes intentional surface subsidence.

The DEP’s review indicates that 38,256 acres were newly-undermined in Pennsylvania between 2003 and 2008. But although the longwall and room-and-pillar mining methods each undermined approximately the same number of acres, properties and structures, longwall mining was responsible for almost all of the damage.

Schmid & Company did the report based on a Pennsylvania DEP review of underground mining damage under the state’s “Act 54.” The DEP review itself is available here and here, and I’ve posted a copy of the Citizens Coal Council report below:

EQB issues formal order on conductivity

The West Virginia Environmental Quality Board has issued its formal order in the case of International Coal Group’s New Hill West Mine, regarding conductivity in strip-mining water pollution permits.

Here it is:

Slurry cases set for trial Aug. 1

Shayne Fields, 19, left, and Kayla Farley, 18, both of Williamson, W.Va., drop off bottles filled with well water from their home they say was contaminated with coal slurry by Massey Energy and subsidiary Rawl Sales & Processing, prior to court hearing Monday, Nov. 15, 2010, in Charleston, W.Va. (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner)

Here’s the latest from The Associated Press:

The panel of judges handling claims that Massey Energy Co. poisoned hundreds of southern West Virginia wells with coal slurry will start Aug. 1 by trying one case each from seven personal injury and property damage categories the court has created.

A scheduling order filed by Ohio County Circuit Judge James Mazzone, head of the mass litigation panel hearing the cases, instructs both the plaintiffs and Virginia-based Massey to choose two cases from each category by April 1. The three judges will then winnow the 14 proposed cases to seven and try them together Aug. 1 in Wheeling, in what could be the first of a series of trials.

The seven categories, all of which include property damage claims, break the plaintiffs down by illness: cancer or renal failure; cognitive impairment such as attention-deficit disorder; colon or kidney problems; leukemia, spina bifida or pancreatitis; cysts, boils or internal ulcers; gallbladder problems; and chronic diarrhea, rashes or other so-called “sentinel symptoms” of exposure to contaminated water.

More than 700 current and former residents of Rawl, Lick Creek, Sprigg and Merrimac claim Massey and a subsidiary, Rawl Sales & Processing, ruined their water supplies by pumping 1.4 billion gallons of toxic coal slurry into worked-out underground mines between 1978 and 1987.

Continue reading…

While I was talking to WVDEP Secretary Randy Huffman yesterday about a variety of issues, the conversation turned to the ruling last week in which the state Environmental Quality Board ordered Huffman’s agency to for the first time include discharge limits for conductivity in a strip-mining permit.

Randy said that if the decision doesn’t prompt International Coal Group to withdraw its permit application, he plans to appeal the ruling.

Then, Randy added:

This was the worst ruling I’ve ever seen out of the EQB as far as a lack of respect for the rule of law.

Randy and WVDEP lawyers argue that the board is basically trying to create a new water quality standard, something that — as explained in our print story last week — only WVDEP really has the authority to do.

The board’s ruling, though, sided with the Sierra Club, which argued that WVDEP is required by law to include numeric discharge limits in mining permits to ensure compliance the state’s narrative water quality standard prohibiting significant adverse impacts to aquatic life.

CONSOL to pay $5.5 million in Dunkard Creek deal

Federal and state regulators will announce in a few hours that they’ve reached an agreement for CONSOL Energy to pay $5.5 million in civil penalties for pollution violations related to the huge fish kill in the fall of 2009 in Dunkard Creek along the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border.

A press conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at Mason-Dixon Historical Park outside Morgantown.

But federal government lawyers just a few moments ago filed in U.S. District Court in Clarksburg this complaint against CONSOL and this consent decree to resolve that lawsuit.

The settlement also describes requirements for CONSOL to complete a new, $200 million water treatment system to better control pollution discharges from its active and former mining operations in the area.

UPDATED:  CONSOL just issued this news release (nearly 90 minutes before the press conference), describing the settlement as a “Ground Breaking Clean Water Act Agreement … promoting environmental stewardship that will set the highest standard for mine water treatment.”

According to the release:

Working with the regulatory authorities, CONSOL Energy was able to outline an efficient, flexible path forward to implement additional clean technologies and best practices at its operations. The agreement will allow CONSOL Energy to treat mine water discharges from four mines on the order of 3,500 gallons per minute, removing 95-98 percent of the pollutants through the use of a state of the art centralized Reverse Osmosis/Zero Liquid Discharge (RO/ZLD) facility. CONSOL Energy is making an investment of $200 million as part of this commitment. This facility, together with a similar $100 million water treatment facility that CONSOL Energy is currently in the process of commissioning at its Buchanan Mine in Virginia, puts the company at the forefront of environmental stewardship.

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EPA backing off rewrite of ‘fill rule’?

We reported about a year ago about how EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was considering — just considering, mind you — re-examining the definition of “fill material” in her agency’s Clean Water Act regulations.

Now, it seems that Jackson — according to Greenwire, via the NY Times — has lost her enthusiasm for a swift rollback of Bush ‘Fill Rule’:

After vowing last year to revisit a controversial George W. Bush-era policy that made it easier for mining companies to dump debris into waterways, U.S. EPA may be having second thoughts.

The fate of the “fill rule” will largely hinge on the public’s reception of another upcoming Clean Water Act regulatory move, the Obama administration’s soon-to-be-released reinterpretation of Bush’s guidance for federal wetland regulators, according to a senior administration official.

“There is some waiting to see how this guidance goes before we start throwing out new rules or proposed rules on the Clean Water Act,” said the official, who was granted anonymity in exchange for speaking candidly on the behind-the-scenes deliberations.

Recall that Jackson had told Rolling Stone in January 2010:

… Jackson tells Rolling Stone, the EPA is reviewing the infamous Bush “fill rule” that allows mining companies to bury streams and lakes with mining rubble in the first place. “Staff is working on it now,” she says. “We haven’t put anything about it out publicly.” Jackson says the primary goal is to reform gold mining in Alaska — where miners have begun dumping toxic waste into a pristine lake near Juneau — but adds that the move may also “curtail” mountaintop-removal mining.

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CONSOL makes deal, gets EPA permit approval

SNL Financial appears to be the first to report the news that CONSOL Energy has reached a deal with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a Clean Water Act permit covering the company’s proposed Spring Branch No. 3 Deep Mine in Mingo County, W.Va.

According to the report:

After winning concessions from CONSOL of Kentucky Inc., the EPA has signed off on an application for a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit for the Spring Branch No. 3 deep mine project in Mingo County, W.Va.

This application was one of dozens placed into an “enhanced” review process by the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2009. The corps is the agency responsible for issuing these permits, with increasingly active advice from the EPA under the Obama administration. This “enhanced” review process is one of several EPA actions over the past couple of years related to water permitting for coal mining that have triggered several pending lawsuits by the coal industry and the states of Kentucky and West Virginia.

A copy of an EPA letter to the Army Corps of Engineers, outlining the deal, is available online here.

The letter explains that CONSOL agreed to changes that reduced the footprint of the surface disturbance for the deep mine from 57 acres to 19 acres. The company also reduced linear stream impacts from 3,626 feet to 871 feet. This cut back the amount of coal the company would mine from 2.85 million tons of coal to 2.77 million tons, or about 3 percent.

EPA said in its letter:

It is EPA’s position that this project has been substantially improved through significant new avoidance and minimization measures. Stream impacts have been reduced by nearly 76 percent and the total surface area of disturbance has been reduced by approximately 66 perent.

Upon completion of operations, the applicant has agreed to remove all fill placed in waters of the U.S. and to restore affected streams to the pre-project condition. Notably, while the environmental footprint in waters of the U.S. has been significantly reduced, nearly 97 percent of the coal reserves that wee originally proposed for mining will be extracted under the applicant’s revised proposal.

See previous posts about EPA deals to permit the Hobet 45 and Pine Creek mines.

This just in from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Justice Department announced today that Arch Coal Inc., the second largest supplier of coal in the United States, has agreed to pay a $4 million dollar penalty for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act in Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Under the settlement, Arch Coal will implement changes to its mining operations in Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act.

“Violations at mining operations can have significant environmental and public health consequences, including the pollution of the waters that people use for drinking, swimming and fishing,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “It is critical that companies operating next door to homes, schools and other businesses meet the standards established to protect the health and the environment for these communities.”

“The measures required by this settlement will prevent pollutants from entering waterways and bring wide-ranging improvements to mining operations in four mining complexes across three states,” said Ignacia. S. Moreno, assistant attorney general of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. “These changes will mean a healthier environment for local communities and will help ensure Arch Coal’s compliance with the Clean Water Act.”

As part of the settlement, Arch Coal has agreed to take measures that will prevent an estimated 2 million pounds of pollution from entering the nation’s waters each year. Arch will also implement a treatment system to reduce discharges of selenium, a pollutant found in mine discharges. Selenium runoff from mining operations can build up in streams and have an adverse impact on aquatic organisms.

Arch Coal has agreed to implement a series of inspections, audits and tracking measures to ensure treatment systems are working properly and that future compliance is achieved. The company is also required to develop and implement a compliance management system to help foster a top-down, compliance and prevention-focused approach to Clean Water Act issues.

A joint federal-state complaint filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of West Virginia by the United States, West Virginia, and Kentucky alleged numerous violations of Arch Coal’s permits that set limits on pollutants to be discharged into streams. The alleged excess discharges of iron, total suspended solids, manganese and other pollutants reflect deficiencies in operation and maintenance of wastewater treatment systems in place at four of the company’s mining facilities: Coal Mac, Inc; Lone Mountain Processing, Inc; Cumberland River Coal Co.; and Mingo Logan Coal Co.

Under the settlement, $2 million of the $4 million civil penalty will be paid to the United States and the remaining $2 million will be divided between West Virginia and Kentucky based on the percentage of alleged violations in each state. The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

More about the settlement is available here, and the settlement is online here.

Massey to set up medical monitoring in slurry case

Here’s something just in from Vicki Smith at The Associated Press:

Massey Energy Co. said Thursday it will create a medical monitoring fund to provide health screenings for hundreds of southern West Virginia residents suing the company over claims it poisoned their wells with coal slurry.

General Counsel Shane Harvey said the deal was reached even though a second mediation attempt in Charleston this week failed to settle other issues in the long-running lawsuit against Virginia-based Massey and a subsidiary, Rawl Sales & Processing.

Harvey said that while Massey is confident its operations didn’t affect the plaintiffs’ water supplies, “We hope that the medical monitoring program will go a long way toward easing the plaintiffs’ concerns and leading to a fair and complete resolution of all issues.”

He did not say how much Massey will spend on the fund.

Continue reading…

Here’s some leftover news that I didn’t get to from last week:

U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. has ruled that a previous settlement with the federal Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t insulate Massey Energy from citizen lawsuits over new water pollution violations at the company’s operations.

I’ve posted a copy of Judge Copenhaver’s decision here.

Basically, the judge ruled that the EPA deal — including a $20 million fine paid by Massey — covered only violations that were specifically spelled out in the agency’s agreement with Massey. Future violations, like those alleged by the new citizen group lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club and others earlier this year. Massey had argued that was not the case, in seeking to have the new suit thrown out.

Preston residents suing Alpha Natural Resources

Vicki Smith from The Associated Press reports:

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.  — Several property owners suing Alpha Natural Resources say a coal mine that had a history of roof falls before it closed last year is to blame for subsidence damage, ruined groundwater and explosive methane gas that now leaks into homes and outbuildings.

Lawyers for the homeowners and Alpha subsidiary Kingwood Mining Co. are set to appear Tuesday in Preston County Circuit Court, when a judge will consider motions in the case.

The plaintiffs blame Alpha’s “reprehensible, intentional and grossly negligent” conduct at the troubled Whitetail Kittanning Mine near Fellowsville for their plummeting property values and a compromised quality of life.

Alpha spokesman Rick Nida did not immediately comment on the case.

Abingdon, Va.-based Alpha closed the mine last year, after it was fined more than $763,000 for repeated safety violations.

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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.

Russell Prince holds photographs on Monday Nov. 15, 2010 in Charleston, W.Va., of his 4-year-old daughter, Chasety, who died in 1996 of a kidney tumor he believes was caused by well water contaminated with coal slurry. More than 700 current and former residents of Rawl, Lick Creek, Sprigg and Merrimac claim their water was contaminated and their health wrecked after Rawl Sales & Processing pumped 1.4 billion gallons of toxic coal slurry into worked-out underground mines. (AP Photo/Vicki Smith)

The Gazette’s Dr. Paul Nyden has more today on the Rawl Sales & Processing water pollution lawsuits, which now appear headed for trial next year after mediation efforts failed to produce a settlement.

As Paul reports here:

Mediation efforts seeking to settle more than 350 lawsuits filed on behalf of 769 people from Mingo County against Massey Energy Co. broke down at about 7 p.m. on Tuesday evening.

The state Supreme Court’s Mass Litigation Panel hoped to settle the suits, which allege coal slurry run-offs from a Massey mining complex poisoned their groundwater and hundreds of wells near the town of Rawl, leading to serious health problems.

The failure of mediation efforts means the cases will begin going to trial on Aug. 1 at the Ohio County Circuit Court in Wheeling.

Mediation fails to settle Massey slurry case

Shayne Fields, 19, left, and Kayla Farley, 18, both of Williamson, W.Va., drop off bottles filled with well water from their home they say was contaminated with coal slurry by Massey Energy and subsidiary Rawl Sales & Processing, prior to court hearing Monday, Nov. 15, 2010, in Charleston, W.Va. Hundreds of plaintiffs are gathering in Charleston to see if they can resolve a water pollution lawsuit against Virginia-based Massey Energy. The plaintiffs claim that Massey and subsidiary Rawl Sales & Processing have poisoned their water wells in Mingo County with 1.4 billion gallons of toxic coal slurry. They gathered at the Charleston Civic Center Monday morning for what is expected to be the start of a three-day meeting with a panel of judges. (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner)

The Associated Press reports:

A lawyer for the plaintiffs says attempts to settle a long-running water pollution lawsuit against Massey Energy Co. have failed.

Bruce Stanley represents some of the more than 700 people suing Virginia-based Massey and subsidiary Rawl Sales & Processing over coal slurry they believe polluted their well water and made them sick.

Slurry is the byproduct of washing coal to make it burn more cleanly.

Two judges on West Virginia’s mass litigation panel have been trying to mediate a settlement with Massey and its army of insurance company lawyers since Monday afternoon.

But Stanley says the attempt has failed despite the judges’ best efforts.

He says the plaintiffs look forward to taking the case to trial next summer and are confident justice awaits.

Mediation sessions today in Mingo coal-slurry case

Jimmy Murphy of Sprigg, W.Va., holds a jar filled with well water from his home he says was contaminated with coal slurry by Massey Energy and subsidiary Rawl Sales & Processing, prior to court hearing Monday, Nov. 15, 2010, in Charleston, W.Va. Hundreds of plaintiffs are gathering in Charleston to see if they can resolve a water pollution lawsuit against Virginia-based Massey Energy. (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner)

My buddy Dr. Paul Nyden had the story in Sunday’s Gazette-Mail about today’s big series of mediation sessions in the Mingo County lawsuit that alleges Massey Energy contaminated drinking water in the towns of Rawl, Lick Creek, Merrimac and Sprigg with slurry from a coal-processing plant.

The story is here, and as Nyden reports:

Lawsuits filed by current and former residents of those towns claim they suffered health problems including chronic gastrointestinal disorders, skin cancers and major organ cancers.

Many say they also suffered from developmental disorders from extensive exposure to lead and other toxins when they were children.

The lawsuits claim that Rawl Sales and Processing, a Massey subsidiary, pumped more than 1.4 billion gallons of toxic slurry into old underground mine shafts, which ended up poisoning wells residents depended on until getting city water from the county seat of Williamson three years ago.

In addition:

Dr. Charles Werntz, a West Virginia University Medical School professor of health sciences, said water in the coal towns was contaminated with a number of different metals and other chemicals.

“Slurry syndrome” caused skin rashes, boils, diarrhea and teeth problems, Werntz said.

“When people got fresh water from Williamson in 2007, those symptoms for the most part improved,” he said. “One of the biggest victories for people in those communities was getting drinkable water.”

Werntz said the “syndrome” also included more serious diseases, such as kidney failures and a variety of cancers.

“The number of people who had kidney failure was greater than one would expect to see otherwise,” he said. “Some skin cancers rates were also higher than what one would normally expect. A variety of other conditions have also affected people.”

Werntz said fresh water going into those Mingo County towns ended exposure to toxic chemicals.

“But the bad thing is that some of the diseases that come from those exposures might not be evident right away,” he said.

Continue reading…

Big news just in from Richmond, Va., where the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a major decision that the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is indeed required to obtain permits and set discharge limits for abandoned coal mines under the control of its Special Reclamation Program.

A three-judge panel from the 4th Circuit upheld the previous decision by U.S. District Judge Irene M. Keeley, who in January 2009 ruled in favor of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy in its suit to try to force reforms of the WVDEP special reclamation system.

In this 17-page decision issued just today, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the 4th Circuit explains that the Clean Water Act requires  “any person”  who discharges “any pollutant” into rivers and streams to obtain a permit for that pollution discharge. Wilkinson dismantled a variety of arguments made on WVDEP’s behalf by its outside lawyer, Ben Bailey, including that the agency didn’t create the abandoned mine site in the first place and therefore should not have to obtain a permit with a discharge limit during the reclamation process:

… The statute takes the water’s point of view: Water is indifferent about who initially polluted so long as pollution continues to occur.

Wilkinson also dismissed the arguments made by WVDEP and by the Interstate Mining Compact Commission that even if permits were written for these abandoned mine sites, the discharge limits in them would be impossible to comply with:

These arguments get things backwards. For one thing, these consequences are as of now largely speculative. The sky did not fall when WVDEP had to obtain an NPDES permit for the Alton project site, and for all of WVDEP’s and IMCC’s  cataclysmic predictions, we may not assume the sky will fall now. More importantly, we are not in the business of rewriting laws whenever parties allege it is difficult to comply with them.

Exempting the state on those grounds risks sending the wrong message to mining companies: Don’t bother complying with the permits, because the state won’t either.

Moreover, the 4th Circuit concluded:

… These arguments about the heavy burdens imposed by the permit program are hardly novel. Any time Congress imposes a permit scheme, some regulated entities will complain that the permits impose onerous costs and will lead to all manner of hazardous consequences. Here, Congress has determined that a permitting scheme is the crucial instrument for protecting natural resources. It is for Congress to weigh the consequences of compliance with the laws it enacts.

In passing the NPDES scheme, Congress considered the costs and decided that the benefits were worth it. If Congress somehow struck the balance wrong, it is for Congress to correct it.

Along with Keeley’s decision in West Virginia’s Northern District, WVDEP was also facing an order from U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. in Southern West Virginia requiring the state to start writing permits with discharge limits for special reclamation sites.

At the end of its ruling, the 4th Circuit offered WVDEP some advice:

… WVDEP’s state law obligations to take over bond forfeiture sites and engage in reclamation efforts invoke Clean Water Act obligations to obtain NPDES permits. Permit requirements are often, and sometimes understandably, a source of discomfort for those required to obtain them. If so, West Virginia can attempt to ease the burdens it foresees. It can petition Congress or the EPA to create exceptions to the CWA for states that move to ameliorate the problems private companies leave behind. Or WVDEP can address the other side of the equation and increase the funds available for reclamation, either by raising the SRF tax on coal or enlarging the bonds mining companies must post before beginning their work.

WVDEP selects firm for Prenter water study

This just in from the state Department of Environmental Protection:

Triad Engineering of St. Albans, W.Va., has been selected by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a one-year study on water supplies in the Prenter/Sand Lick Area of Boone County, West Virginia.

The study will analyze whether human activity, including coal mining and activities associated with it, may have negatively affected the quality of groundwater being used as a drinking water source by residents of the study area. The study area includes all residences along Hopkins Fork of Big Coal River and tributaries of Hopkins Fork from Seth to Prenter.

Triad employees will look for the presence of contaminants in residential water supplies, which may affect human health, by taking samples from those sources. The firm’s representatives also will take samples from nearby surface and groundwater locations that include any possible mining and industrial contamination sources, including surface mining, deep mining, coal preparation plants, refuse areas, impoundments, underground mine pools and underground injection sites.

Continue reading…

Judge Chambers issues formal selenium ruling

U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers today issued his written opinion and order in a ruling we’ve discussed before — where he ordered Patriot Coal to clean up its selenium discharges.

I’ve posted a copy of the judge’s opinion and order here. Remember that this decision could have huge implications for the coal industry.