Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Eastern Kentucky coal company ordered to pay $6 million for thousands of violations

An Eastern Kentucky coal company "accused of submitting false water-monitoring reports agreed to pay $500,000 in a $6 million settlement covering thousands of environmental violations, according to citizens groups involved in the deal," Bill Estep reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. If it abides by the deal, Frasure Creek Mining will only have to pay the $500,000. (Wikipedia map: Frasure Creek Mining was based in Floyd County, Kentucky)

In a press release, Appalachian Voices, one of the citizens groups, said the fine was "the highest ever entered by Kentucky against a coal company for environmental violations . . . In addition, if Frasure Creek, which is currently not mining in the state, or its owners want to resume mining, they must pay $2.75 million before a permit application will be processed."

Appalachian Voices said it first discovered that Frasure Creek was duplicating water pollution reports in 2010 and filed a notice of intent to sue, Estep Writes. The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet proposed a fine of $390,000 for 39 violations. The citizens argued that the fine wasn't steep enough, leading a circuit judge to rule that the settlement was inadequate. 

Appalachian Voices states that in 2014 the groups "discovered that, once again, Frasure Creek was duplicating or otherwise falsifying water pollution reports. Almost half of the company’s data submitted for the first quarter of 2014 was copied from previous reports. In November 2014, the groups filed a notice of intent to sue over the new violations. The cabinet then filed an enforcement action against Frasure Creek, which the citizens groups joined."

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