Kentucky Coal Firm Fined Over West Virginia Mine Pollution

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — A Kentucky coal company was fined $51,000 for failing to submit court-ordered plans to clean up two polluted West Virginia mine sites.

U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers issued the order Monday against Lexington Coal Company LLC, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported. In May, Chambers found the company in contempt for not complying with his previous order to submit a plan to address selenium discharges and other pollution at the sites in Mingo County.

Chambers issued a $1,000 daily fine for a 51-day period covering May 29 to July 18. He said the fine will rise to $1,500 per day if the company does not submit a plan by Aug. 1.

Environmental groups alleged in a 2019 lawsuit that the company was discharging pollutants illegally at its Low Gap Surface Mine No. 2 and No. 10 Mine.

Sierra Club senior attorney Peter Morgan cheered Chambers’ ruling but noted that the coal company may not meet its court-ordered obligations.

“It remains to be seen whether Lexington has the willingness or the ability to comply with the court’s order,” said Peter Morgan, an attorney for the Sierra Club.