Mountaintop Removal Coal Companies Agreed To Curb Pollution, Then Polluted More

Two coal companies accused of polluting streams in eastern Kentucky continued to pollute streams at higher levels than their permits allowed even after reaching an agreement with the state to stop. In October, environmental groups filed notice to sue International Coal Group (ICG) and Frasure Creek Mining over the pollution of streams. After meetings with state officials, the companies agreed to correct the issue and pay $650,000 in fines.

But according to a new suit filed by the environmental groups, the companies not only failed to stop polluting, they are actually polluting at even higher levels than they were before the agreement. According to the suit, “almost every reported pollutant in the permits analyzed had multiple violations at significant factors above what is considered safe for waterways of Kentucky and the people who use and enjoy those waterways”:

Lisenby’s and Chance’s affidavits allege a review of the companies’ DMRs showed the companies “self-reported” pollution levels as much as eight to 15 times above allowable, permitted levels of several pollutants.

Kentucky politicians are fighting the federal government’s efforts to regulate coal pollution, with dire consequences for its citizens. According to a recent study by professors at West Virginia and Washington State universities, mountaintop removal has a direct link to the prevalence of birth defects in the communities where it is practiced.