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CONSOL Settles Pollution Suit


Five years after being issued Clean Water Act violations for its Bailey mine complex, CONSOL Energy has settled a suit with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The producer will implement “extensive water management and monitoring activities” at the Greene and Washington County complex, according to the DOJ, to prevent future mine wastewater discharges. The agency, as well as the DEP, had said the earlier discharges had entered the Ohio River and its tributaries.

CONSOL will also pay a $3 million civil penalty for the violations, though the company has said it already set aside the funds because it has been waiting for some time for the proper authorities to sign off on the settlement.

Company spokesperson Brian Aiello told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that it has already spent more than $5 million on a closed-loop system at Bailey for the prep plant’s slurry ponds and that CONSOL has also taken “proactive measures…[for] past surface water management challenges experienced at the Bailey complex prior to 2011.”

The proposed consent decree for the settlement has been filed in the Federal Register. It is now under a 30-day comment period for public comments, after which it will be signed by a judge. The comment period for the decree, which is available to view here, closes September 9.