The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Arch Coal and 14 of its subsidiaries under the International Coal Group (ICG) have agreed to conduct comprehensive upgrades to their operations to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act (CWA). The settlement resolves hundreds of CWA violations related to illegal discharges of pollutants at the companies’ coal mines in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. The states of West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania are co-plaintiffs in the settlement. The companies will also pay a $2 million civil penalty.
In addition to paying the penalty, under the proposed consent decree, the companies must implement measures to ensure compliance and prevent future CWA violations, which will help protect communities overburdened by pollution.
The government complaint filed concurrently with the settlement alleged that in the last six years, ICG operations have violated discharge limits for aluminum, manganese, iron and total suspended solids in their state-issued National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits on more than 1,200 occasions, resulting in more than 8,900 days of violations. Of those violations, 700 have been previously resolved by state enforcement actions in Kentucky and West Virginia.