Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Patriot's bankruptcy plan could cost West Virginia taxpayers hundreds of millions in clean-up costs

Lawyers for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection "are warning that Patriot Coal’s current bankruptcy plans could leave West Virginia stuck with the liability for hundreds of millions of dollars in land reclamation and water treatment costs," Ken Ward reports for the Charleston Gazette-Mail. "DEP lawyers filed a formal objection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Va., to Patriot’s 'disclosure statement,' a document that spells out the company’s current finances and is supposed to detail a firm’s proposal for reorganization."

"Patriot wants to sell certain of its assets—those without significant long-term pollution liabilities—as part of a bankruptcy plan being considered by the court," Ward writes. Lawyer Kevin Barrett, who is representing the DEP in the case, "said in the agency’s objection that the move would leave Patriot with 'enormous environmental liabilities and obligations and little to no ability . . . to reclaim the land and treat acid mine drainage and other water pollution problems left in the wake of its mining operations.'”

Barrett said the plan “would leave the people of the state of West Virginia and other states in which the debtors operated exposed to imminent public health and safety risks," Ward writes. "Patriot would be 'denuded of its only valuable assets and the proceeds therefrom' and 'will be left with no real assets with which to deal with hundreds of millions of dollars of legal obligations to reclaim the land and treat water.'” (Read more)

No comments: