By Elizabeth E. Payne
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice reached a settlement with Arch Coal Inc. and several of its subsidiaries in August that “resolves hundreds of Clean Water Act violations related to illegal discharges of pollutants at the companies’ coal mines in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia,” according to a press release from the agency.
The companies are required to conduct upgrades to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act and will have to pay $2 million in civil penalties.
“Businesses have an obligation to ensure that their operations don’t threaten the communities they serve, especially those that are overburdened by or more vulnerable to pollution,” Cynthia Giles of the EPA stated in the release.
And in West Virginia, a federal judge found Fola Coal Company guilty of water violations at two of their mountaintop coal removal sites and ruled that the company was liable for damages caused downstream by this pollution.
“The scientific community repeatedly reaches and reports the same conclusion despite the use of multiple methodologies relying on a variety of datasets and conducted by a range of expert scientists,” the judge wrote.