Victory for West Virginia Residents Will Protect Streams and Aquatic Life from Coal Mine Pollution
July 31, 2012
On July 31, 2012, the West Virginia Environmental Quality Board (EQB) ruled in favor of Sierra Club’s challenge on behalf of local residents to a permit for the New Hill West surface mine. The EQB agreed with Sierra Club that pollution from surface coal mining harms aquatic life, and that Clean Water Act discharge permits for these mines must include enforceable numeric limits for conductivity, sulfates, and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). The New Hill West mine, which intends to dispose of coal ash along with mining waste, is located in Monongahela County.
The EQB had issued a similar decision in March 2011, but Patriot Mining Company and the DEP appealed that decision and a state court ordered EQB to issue supplemental findings. Today’s ruling reaffirms the Board’s previous decision and directs the DEP to include limits in the permit that will protect downstream aquatic life.
“We’re glad to see the Environmental Quality Board take a tough stance to ensure the coal industry has to follow the rule of the law. These new permitting procedures will help limit the toxic pollutants found in coal waste that threaten the health of our rivers and streams as well as the residents who fish, swim and play in these waterways,” said West Virginia Chapter Chair Jim Sconyers.
Details and Documents:
Supplemental Final Order
July 30, 2012, Chairman Edward M. Snyder
See other "Stopping Mountaintop Removal and Other Destructive Mining" cases.