Front Porch Blog

Taking Another Coal Company to Court Over Clean Water Act Violations

Local creeks can receive pollution from underground seeps and old sediment ponds long after mining activity has ended. This creek is orange due in part to drainage from several sediment ponds.

On Monday, Appalachian Voices, Sierra Club, and Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, represented by Appalachian Mountain Advocates, filed a lawsuit against Penn Virginia Resource Partners for violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Unlike other CWA cases filed by Appalachian Voices and its partners, this case addresses water pollution that still exists on former surface mine sites, rather than on active sites. Penn Virginia is an oil and gas company which operates in multiple states across the country. The company owns over 5,500 acres of land in Wise County, Virginia, where the CWA violations in this case are located. In addition to drilling for natural gas, Penn Virginia leases its land to coal mine operators.

This case is an important step toward addressing water pollution that exists after mines are closed down. Too often, abandoned mine land and even reclaimed land that has been released from financial bond continues to release pollutants into the watersheds in which they are located. These sites are often even less well monitored than active surface mines, if they are monitored at all. We believe companies should be responsible for the environmental degradation their resource extraction continues to cause even when production has ended.

To learn more about this case, see the press release.

To learn more about Appalachian Voices’ other Clean Water Act cases, visit our Appalachian Water Watch legal page.

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