As the Blackjewel bankruptcy continues, the responsibility to reclaim mine sites and workers’ compensation for past medical bills are still major issues.
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.
The Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition held a webinar in May in which regional organizations including Appalachian Voices spoke on innovative mine reclamation work being done to turn coal-impacted lands into outdoor recreation hot spots.
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.
Three Virginia strip mines, neglected in the wake of the Blackjewel bankruptcy, may finally have a buyer. But it remains to be seen if the new company would be able to reclaim the land.
With the failure of coal operator ERP’s unconventional scheme, West Virginia must contend with the company’s environmental violations and mines in need of cleanup.
Virginia regulators, a surety insurance company, and two coal companies are playing hot potato with 22 of bankrupt Blackjewel’s coal permits — and none of them want to be left with the responsibility of reclaiming the sites.
Satellite photos taken years apart reveal that little reclamation has taken place at several Virginia mines owned by the family of billionaire West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice.