A letter sent by the EPA to WVDEP in January expresses the agency’s concerns about CONSOL Energy’s 2,308-acre Buffalo Mountain surface mine. The EPA has suggested ways to reduce the negative impacts on the environment and water quality that the surface mine, one of Appalachia’s largest, will inevitably have. Stretching from Belo to Williamson in Mingo County, the Buffalo Mountain mine will extend the King Coal Highway project.
House of Representatives Flunks 2011 Environmental Scoreboard
The League of Conservation voters, a group that works to turn environmental values into national priorities, released it’s 2011 National Environmental Scorecard, which rates Congressmen on 11 Senate and 35 House votes on issues including public health protections, clean energy, land and wildlife conservation. The group called the results “a sad testament to the radical nature of the U.S. House of Representatives in the first session of the 112th Congress.”
Patriot Down in the 4th Quarter, Reportedly “Saving the Best for Last”
Patriot Coal Corp., idled its Big Mountain mining complex in Boone County, W.Va. and announced estimates that it will sell 7 percent to 13 percent less coal this year than it did in 2011, saying demand for coal is weak. In 2011, the company reported a fourth-quarter loss and says idling mines now will allow for the highest quality coal to remain unmined until conditions improve.
Patriot Takes a $7.5 Million Hit For Selenium Pollution
Patriot Coal Corp. has agreed to pay a $7.5 million civil penalty and spend potentially hundreds of millions more to install water pollution treatment systems at some of its West Virginia mining complexes to settle a lawsuit filed last year by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and the Sierra Club last year. The lawsuit alleged that Patriot mining complex’s selenium discharges exceeded limits in the company’s state water permits and the federal Clean Water Act.
Coal River Mountain Tree-Sitter Sentenced
Coal River Mountain tree-sitter Catherine-Ann MacDougal was sentenced to seven days in a West Virginia regional jail on Feb. 9 for trespassing.
Last summer, MacDougal and Becks Kolins, sat for a month in an oak tree near the active Bee Tree surface mine, holding up banners pretesting mountaintop removal. Alpha Natural Resources, owner of the Bee Tree mine, filed civil suits against the sitters and their support team.
MacDougal said that her jail sentence has only strengthened her desire to fight against mountaintop removal.