As part of our Appalachian Water Watch initiative, Appalachian Voices, with partners, officially filed a federal lawsuit against Nally & Hamilton Coal Company for over 12,000 violations of the Clean Water Act at more than a dozen of its operations in eastern Kentucky. As we have witnessed before, there is evidence that Nally and Hamilton may have cut-and-pasted previous sets of data rather than submitting accurate data for each month.
Could it be that the “wash, rinse and repeat” method of collecting water monitoring data is how mountaintop removal coal companies make up their water monitoring data? After all, Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy said as much when he debated Bobby Kennedy Jr. early last year.
The Kentucky Environment and Energy Cabinet has filed a complaint against Nally and Hamilton in administrative court for 4,600 violations. Donna Lisenby, our Director of Water Programs, called the Cabinet’s actions “too little, too late because we found 12,000 violations of the Clean Water Act and the Cabinet only found 4,600.”
Len Peters, the secretary of the Cabinet, claims that his agency doesn’t have the funding needed to fully enforce Clean Water Act laws, yet they have intervened in two of our other legal casesagainst coal companies for similar violations, and are suing the EPA for steps it has taken to rein in mountaintop removal.
If our case is successful, maximum fines allowed under the Clean Water Act would be more than $400 million. As always, we’ll keep you up to date as we work to protect Appalachian waterways.
Our legal team consists of the plaintiffs Appalachian Voices, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Kentucky Riverkeeper and Waterkeeper, represented by the Natural Resources Defense Council.