West Virginia environmental regulators are proposing to reduce the fines that a coal company owned by the state’s governor could pay for water pollution violations that are the focus of a federal court case. The move comes after the company stopped paying penalties required as part of a settlement four years ago to clean up its mines across the Appalachian coalfields.
Appalachian Headwaters represents environmental groups in alleging that the Red Fox Mine, a large strip-mining site in southern West Virginia owned by Gov. Jim Justice’s Bluestone Coal Corp., continues to exceed discharge limits for harmful substances. The suit could result in substantial payouts — the maximum potential federal penalties are nearly $170 million — that would go to the U.S. Treasury. Read more here.