State regulators here in West Virginia have made public another in their series of Clean Water Act settlements with the coal industry.
This one involves CONSOL of Kentucky operation in Mingo County, W.Va., and includes a nearly $215,000 fine.
(Recall that the state Department ofÂ Environmental Protection issues cryptic public notices about these settlements, and does not post the documents on its Web site. So Coal Tattoo will post this one here).
This deal is part of a movement by DEP and the coal industry to resolve water pollution violations never previously cited by DEP, and avoid federal government enforcement actions or citizen group lawsuits.Â Industry officials began approaching DEP to work out these deals after Massey Energy paid a record $20 million to settle a water pollution lawsuit brought against it by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA sued Massey over thousands of water pollution violations that DEP never cited because state officials for roughly five years did not review water pollution monitoring reports that coal companies file every month.
Folks who followed these deals may recall a previous one with various subsidiaries of CONSOL Energy that involved $400,000 in fines. But this new one involves permits that CONSOL acquired as of Jan. 1, 2009, when it assumed ownership of Southern West Virginia Resources LLC, according to DEP’s chief inspector, Mike Zeto.
This settlement involves 111 minor, 44 moderate and 3 major violations of permit limits at operations in Mingo County.
DEP is accepting public comments on the deal through June 4. Comments can be submitted to Chief Inspector/WVDEP/Environmental Enforcement, 601 57th Street, S.E., Charleston, W.Va., 25304. Their phone number is (304) 926-0470.