Sierra Club and Coalfield Allies Sue Mining Companies for Endangering West Virginian Waterways
March 22, 2012
To protect Appalachian waterways, the Sierra Club, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, and Ohio Valley Environmental Council are suing two mining companies for releasing pollutants that have impaired headwater streams in West Virginia.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Charleston, alleges that mine runoff from five mines operated by Elk Run Coal Company and Alex Energy has contaminated the water in the Laurel and Twentymile Creek watersheds with sulfate and other dissolved solids, making them toxic to aquatic life. A large portion of the land area in these two watersheds has also been disturbed by mining and valley fills.
“Coal companies can mine safely and healthily,” said Jim Sconyers, Chapter Director of the West Virginia Sierra Club. “It's a pity that the WVDEP doesn’t require them to do so, and groups like ours have to do their job. We can't allow these companies to keep poisoning our streams.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that nine out of 10 streams downstream from valley fills associated with coal mines are biologically impaired. But neither the state of West Virginia nor the EPA has taken action to require compliance and cleanup of the impaired streams.
The groups are represented by Jim Hecker at Public Justice and Joe Lovett and Derek Teaney at Appalachian Mountain Advocates.
Details and Documents:
Groups Sue Two More Mining Companies for Endangering WV Streams
March 20, 2012, Sierra Club Press Release
See other "Stopping Mountaintop Removal and Other Destructive Mining" cases.