Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
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March 2008
Contents

DEP Misses Massey Messes and Millions in Fines
Sen. Hunter Introduces Bill to End Mountaintop Removal
Victory! Surface Mine Permit Thrown Out in McDowell County
Fayette County Commission Resolution Against Ansted Permit
Department for Every Polluter?
Which Will WV Choose Tourism or Wanton Destruction?
Coal-to-Liquid Plant Planned for Mingo County?
Sludge Safety Project: In Pursuit of the Truth
OVEC Members Win Awards
State Adds Fish Advisory for Selenium
Its Our Sacred DUTY to Allow Our Mountains to Be Leveled - Huh?
Lets Go Krogering! Card Can Be Used at Kroger Gas Stations, Too!
Whats In the Water? - Rash of Illnesses Prompts Questions
Our Lawsuit: DEP Protecting Coal Industrys Illegal Pollution
Get Involved! Let the Dead Rest in Peace, Safe From Mountain Massacre!
Public Campaign Financing: What Is It? How Do We Fund It?
"Judges Shall Always Endeavor To the Utmost Degree To Preserve the Appearance of Impartiality"  Except in WV!
Freedom Bill Is Just Another Name for the Clean Elections Movement
Honoring Senator Hunter and Supporting Clean Elections!
Clean Elections: Public Campaign Financing Act Introduced
US Power Company Linked to Bush is Named A Top Global Polluter
Climate Is Ripe for Massive Change
Lets Attempt Some Perspective - Who Are the Real Enemies?
The Twilight of Twilight?
Get Ready to Hear A New ROARing Noise in WV and Appalachia
Charleston Area Youth Organize to End Mountaintop Removal
Call for Summer Interns!
Times Up, Coal, According to Earth Policy Institute
She Has A Dream for WV
Profound Subliminal Message Against Mountaintop Removal Mining
OVEC Works! Thanks!
Silly Coal Commercials, Talking Bugs, Not Fooling Anyone
MTR in Boone County Topic of Course at Johns Hopkins University
Find Out Your Connection and Take Action to End the Madness
Best Energy Strategy: Small, Green and Local, Experts Say

OVEC's Vision


For viewing the PDF version of the newsletter

 
Winds of Change Newsletter, March 2008     See sidebar for table of contents

DEP Misses Massey Messes and Millions in Fines

 
This sign is wrong - it needs to say Department for Every Polluter.
This sign is wrong - it needs to say Department for Every Polluter.

Massey to pay $20M to settle water pollution suit

by Ken Ward Jr., from Jan.17, 2008, Charleston Gazette

Federal regulators and Massey Energy officials today praised a $20 million water pollution settlement, but environmental groups said the deal only shows how poorly West Virginia regulates its coal industry

The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in May 2007.

The suits focused on thousands of water permit violations that Massey self-reported to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, but which DEP officials didnt recognize because they stopped reviewing coal industry pollution monitoring reports.

Randy Huffman, director of the DEPs Division of Mining and Reclamation, conceded that his agency messed up, but said that he implemented a program to fix the problem.

"I would characterize it as a major hole in the regulatory program that has been filled," Huffman said this morning.

 

"The EPAs lawsuit could have claimed as much as $1 billion five times the agreed-to settlement, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Lexington Herald-Leader noted that the $20 million settlement sounded impressive, but was "just a cost of doing business to Blankenship and Massey."

EPA said that Masseys $20 million penalty is the largest civil penalty in agency history for violations of Clean Water Act permit limits

As part of the settlement, Massey has agreed to take measures at all of its operations that EPA said would "prevent an estimated 380 million pounds of sediment and other pollutants from entering the nations waters each year."

EPA and the Department of Justice had sued Massey and more than two dozen subsidiaries, alleging that the companys operations violated water pollution permit limits more than 4,500 times between January 2000 and December 2006 (this) amounted to more than 60,500 days of violations, or 28 violations per day

EPA said that, in many cases, Massey operations discharged pollutants in amounts 40 percent or more than allowed. Federal officials also cited repeated and large slurry spills from Massey operations

Several environmental groups (OVEC, Coal River Mountain Watch, the WV Highlands Conservancy and Sierra Club, represented by Earthjustice and the Appalachian Center for the Economy & the Environment) had sought to intervene in the EPA lawsuit, but U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver had never ruled on their request

Much of the federal case against Massey was based on self-reported pollution discharge reports filed with the West Virginia DEP. But DEP officials never caught the violations or cited the company, because for a nearly five-year period, state officials had simply stopped reviewing monitoring reports not only for Massey, but all coal companies statewide.

 

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