A judge says the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection violated the state's Freedom of Information Act when it denied a law firm's request for water pollution data.
Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Charles King ordered the DEP this week to provide the data to Appalachian Mountain Advocates.
The law firm sued the DEP after the agency denied its 2013 request for the most recent quarterly data showing water pollution levels at coal mines statewide. In the past, the DEP provided similar data in a spreadsheet format.
The DEP denied the latest request and referred the law firm to a searchable agency website. To provide the data, the agency said it would have to research its databases and create a new record.
The Charleston Gazette reported King's ruling.