West Virginia "Reclaimed" Mountaintop Removal Mine Still Polluting Local Rivers
April 16, 2012
On April 16, a coalition of concerned groups took action to protect waterways threatened by the inactive and allegedly reclaimed Bullpush Mountain coal mine in Kanawha and Fayette Counties in southwestern West Virginia.
Water monitoring conducted by the groups has revealed that the coal mine is still discharging dangerous levels of selenium. The groups’ lawsuit alleges that the current land owner, Boone East Development Company, has violated the Clean Water Act due to unpermitted discharges of selenium and conductivity from the “reclaimed” Bullpush Mountain site. The groups bringing today’s lawsuit are Sierra Club, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, and the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition.
Bullpush Mountain began mining operations in 1970 and was the first mountaintop removal site in West Virginia. Mining has ended and reclamation was completed in 2008. Today, the site is flat, empty and open, and it’s still polluting the local rivers and streams that local residents rely on.
Selenium, a toxic element that causes reproductive failure and deformities in fish and other aquatic life, is discharged from many surface coal mining operations across Appalachia. The data collected by the groups shows that traditional mine “reclamation” does not end discharges of this toxic pollutant. Selenium bio-accumulates in the tissues of aquatic organisms, and experts predict that waterways across Appalachia could be on the brink of collapse due to increasing levels of the pollutant.
Across central Appalachia more than 500 mountains and summits have been destroyed by mountaintop removal coal mining. The practice has damaged or destroyed nearly 2,000 miles of streams and threatens to destroy 1.4 million acres of mountaintops and forests by 2020. The mining poisons drinking water, destroys beautiful forests and wildlife habitat, increases the risk of flooding, and wipes out entire communities.
Details and Documents:
First West Virginia Mountaintop Removal Site Still Polluting Local Rivers
April 16, 2012, Sierra Club Press Release
See other "Stopping Mountaintop Removal and Other Destructive Mining" cases.