Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
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Winds of Change
November 2002


Life Near a Massey Mine is No Picnic

Not Throwing Caution to the Winds

Legacy of MTR - ANOTHER Round of Flooding

And The Winner Is ... NOTA?

Winds of Change - OVEC Switches to Wind Power, So Can You

The Smell of $$$$$ = Business as Usual in WV

The People Win Round 1 in Coal Truck Weight Battle

WV May Tell Coalfields: If You Don't Like It, Move!

OVEC in Action!

Homer III Wants to Blacken Peytona

Invoking Some 'Higher Authority' in the Fight Against MTR

What Can We Say But THANKS for Everything!

Norton Trys to Use Enviros as Poster Children at Sham Celebration

Regulator's Motto: If You Don't Do It Right, It Doesn't Take As Long

GlassWorks of Weston to Produce OVECs 2002 Christmas Ornaments

Norcross Wildlife Foundation Awards OVEC Grant for New Computers

Action Alert Miscellany

Other Miscellany

For viewing the PDF version


Regulator's Motto: If You Don't Do It Right, It Doesn't Take As Long

(In late July 2002, Kentucky ordered Massey Energy to pay a $3.25 million fine for the massive Oct. 11, 2000, coal sludge spill in Martin County, Ky. The cleanup of the Big Sandy River is still under way.)

by Rick Eades

Regarding the $3.25 million fine for 300 million gallons of sludge released by Massey Energy subsidiary Martin County Coal Co. - thats roughly $1 per hundred gallons of sludge released/disposed. Fines like these may mean its cheaper to dump sludge into our rivers than to build impoundments. When could average citizens find such cheap neighborhood stream disposal, say for their own sludge?

Of course, previous fines of Massey/MCCC levied by federal and state regulatory agencies probably wont pay for the true costs it took to substantiate violations and process the paperwork. It took 20 months to levy the latest fine. What a testimony to the razors edge of enforcement. By the time whatever fines are actually collected, the costs for the process may well dwarf the amount recovered.

Worse, once a watershed is devastated (i.e. the Tug Fork River), the need for cleanup of future releases could be argued, by good neighbors such as Massey and Don Blankenship.

Of course, legislators who minimize fines for such violators are at the root of the enforcement problems. And of course, regulators as the branches of enforcement want us to trust that they will punish violators, yet may administer that punishment on geologic time scales and for fines that are laughable when put into perspective.

This $3.25 million fine for one of the worst environmental disasters in the history of the southeastern U.S. is less than one year of Massey CEO Don Blankenships salary and compensation.

You tell me whos in charge of this system?


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