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Elk Run Coal Co. Settles Clean Water Act Complaint

Release Date: 6/24/2003
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – Elk Run Coal Co. has settled a Clean Water Act complaint over the unpermitted dumping of fill material in a river running through its property in Sylvester, Boone County, W. Va., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today.

“We are working closely with our state and federal partners in West Virginia to identify real problems and fix them. A proper permit is essential for mining operations to minimize harmful impacts to wetlands and water quality,” said Donald S. Welsh.

In a consent agreement with EPA, Elk Run will pay a $10,000 penalty to resolve a January 2002 complaint over its failure to obtain a required Clean Water Act permit before dumping fill material to construct a weir in the Big Coal River. The weir is a permeable dam-like structure used to impound water for the company’s mining operations. The weir is about 112 feet long, 2 feet high, 20 feet wide at its base, and consists of approximately 207 cubic yards of 2-3 feet diameter boulders. Construction of the weir, located adjacent to W. Va. Route 3, began in March 2000.

Under the Clean Water Act, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit is required before dredged or fill material may be discharged into open water and wetland areas. The permit requirement is designed to minimize the destruction of waters and wetlands, which serve a number of critical environmental and economic functions -- including flood control, water filtration, and wildlife habitat.

As part of the settlement, Elk Run has agreed to a stream restoration and monitoring plan to remove the weir and mitigate the environmental damage to the Big Coal River. The settlement penalty reflects Elk Run’s compliance efforts and restoration activities. In the consent agreement, the company neither admitted nor denied liability for the violations alleged in the complaint.