Groups: 2 coal operators breaking Clean Water Act - AP

June 29, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Dumping

A team of environmental groups says two coal companies that were fined in Kentucky last year for violations of the Clean Water Act continue to break the federal law.

ICG and Frasure Creek Mining exceeded the limits of pollution discharge allowed under law more than 4,000 times altogether in the first three months of 2011, the groups said. They made the allegations Tuesday in intent-to-sue letters required by the Clean Water Act.

Last year, the environmental groups took a similar action against the same two coal operators, but never filed suit because Kentucky officials and the companies reached a $660,000 settlement. The environmental groups are challenging the settlement in court, saying it’s not enough.

A spokeswoman for Arch Coal, which completed a merger with ICG in June, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday. A number for Frasure Creek, based in Scott Depot, W. Va., was disconnected.

Frasure Creek and ICG reported the violations from earlier this year to the state, according to Dick Brown, a spokesman for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet. State officials are planning to issue citations based on the violations, but Brown said the fines are pending. The state recorded 937 violations for Frasure Creek, and ICG number is still being prepared, Brown said.

Appalachian Voices, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, Kentucky Riverkeeper and New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance said they filed the notices this week to force the companies to comply with federal law.

“These violations represent a toxic soup being poured into our drinking water and streams,” said Ted Withrow, a member of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth and former officials with the state Division of Water.

Under the Clean Water Act, the companies have 60 days to respond to the allegations in the notice letter. Then, if the violations are not corrected, the environmental groups have the option to sue.

Article source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43584067