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Big Fine for Polluting Appalachian Waters

20 Million Reasons to Obey the Law


Massey Energy Company, one of the nation's biggest proponents of mountaintop removal mining, the most devastating form of coal mining, was recently fined $20 million for violating terms of their Clean Water Act permits at mines in West Virginia and Kentucky.


An Extensive -- and Expensive -- List of Violations


The federal EPA brought a lawsuit against Massey for over 4,600 Clean Water Act violations, and is forcing the company to install controls at all their mining sites to limit the amount of pollution entering our nation's headwaters, streams and rivers.


Letting the Damage Continue?


But while EPA enforces one part of the Clean Water Act, it seems to be letting companies like Massey get away with stream destruction in another way. The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers continue to permit mountaintop removal mining, allowing coal companies to blow the tops off Appalachian mountains and permanently bury headwaters and streams with this waste rock.


This $20 million lesson to Massey is a start. Now we hope that EPA follow its own lead and stops the wholesale destruction of the Appalachian Mountains and the waters that run through them.