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The fate of thousands of acres of mines requiring tens of millions of dollars of reclamation was thrown into doubt when Blackjewel, Revelation Energy and affiliated mining operations filed for bankruptcy in July 2019.
Appalachian Voices has created a web page designed to help concerned residents, reporters and regulators track the status of mines caught up in the Blackjewel bankruptcy where the permits will become void once the Blackjewel companies cease to exist at the end of the year.
Heavy rains caused debris from an inactive coal mine to block portions of VA State Route 632 in late August — an event that might become all too common with climate change-fueled rainfall likely to intensify.
As the Blackjewel bankruptcy continues, the responsibility to reclaim mine sites and workers’ compensation for past medical bills are still major issues.
People living near a pair of Virginia mountaintop removal coal mines have long complained about blasting and dust. Now, the company’s bankruptcy makes it even harder for nearby residents to get relief.
As companies go bankrupt, they tend to pass off their mine mining permits — and the responsibility to reclaim them — to increasingly questionable entities. This is currently unfolding in Southwest Virginia, if the state mining agency allows it.
As more coal companies file for bankruptcy, it remains unclear what will happen to hundreds of thousands of acres of unreclaimed mine land in eastern Kentucky and the rest of Appalachia.
Bankrupt coal company Murray Energy has filed several notices warning of impending mass layoffs.
Recent developments in the Blackjewel bankruptcy case raise more doubts about whether the serious reclamation problems at many of its coal sites will be properly addressed anytime soon.