West Virginia Highlands Conservancy

Five barges full of coal being transported along the Kanawha River in Marmet, W.Va.
Eric Douglas/ WVPB

A new lawsuit brought by environmental groups raises the alarm over the solvency of a fund that can be used to clean up coal mining operations when mining companies walk away.

Three groups — the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and Sierra Club — filed the citizen’s suit Thursday against the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and its secretary, Austin Caperton.

Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

A federal judge has denied a request by coal companies owned by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice to dismiss a lawsuit over selenium violations at a southern West Virginia coal mine. 

gavel
wikimedia / Wikimedia

A $6 million settlement has been reached in federal court that will restore damage from West Virginia mountaintop removal mines.

The Sierra Club, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy announced the settlement with the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund. A consent decree was entered Friday in U.S. District Court in Huntington.

Ibrahim.ID / wikimedia Commons

Environmental groups are taking legal action to require the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to treat water pollution at bankrupt coal mines in Barbour, Nicholas and Preston counties.

News outlets report that West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, West Virginia Rivers Coalition and the West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club filed two lawsuits in two federal courts on April 20. The plaintiffs accuse West Virginia of violating the Clean Water Act by allowing excessive amounts of pollutants to discharge from the abandoned coal mine sites.

Patriot Coal

Patriot Coal is being sued by environmental groups who say the company's Hobet 21 mountaintop removal mine in Southern West Virginia is polluting the Mud River watershed.

The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, and the Sierra Club say they have identified multiple violations of water quality standards at the Boone County mine. The groups say streams in the watershed are no longer healthy ecosystems because of pollution from more than 20 valley fills.

longviewpower.com

Longview Power has asked a bankruptcy judge to allow it to settle a lawsuit alleging pollution violations by two subsidiaries.

The federal lawsuit alleges that pollution discharges by Coresco and Mepco exceeded their permits. It also says other pollutants were discharged without a required permit.

Robb Kendrick / National Geographic

 Environmentalists and a landowner have agreed to resolve a lawsuit over runoff from a reclaimed mountaintop removal mine in Mingo County.

Under a proposed consent decree, Hernshaw Partners LLC will apply for a permit from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to cover selenium discharges from the former mine site.

The agreement was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Charleston. If approved by the court, the consent decree would end when Hernshaw Partners obtains the permit, or 18 months following the consent decree's effective date, whichever comes first.

  A federal judge has ruled that two Alpha Natural Resources mountaintop removal mines in southern West Virginia illegally polluted streams.

U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers in Huntington ruled Wednesday that the Elk Run Coal and Alex Energy mines harmed aquatic life in Laurel Creek and Robinson Fork.

Chambers wrote it's a "canary in the coal mine" that aquatic life diminished, as only pollution-tolerant species survived. Penalties are undetermined.