Breaking Laws and Failing to Enforce at WV Dept. of Environmental "Protection"

Jun 16, 2017

When the regulatory agencies that are supposed to protect us have a history of failing, we have to keep an eye on chronic polluter coal companies ourselves. After we complained to federal officials, the West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection admitted that the enforcement procedures required by law “were not adhered to” when they extended a sediment violation deadline. In other words, they broke the law in granting an excessive extension for Alpha Natural Resources to fix their sediment ditch violations above the McDowell Hollow neighborhood on Coal River Mountain. But wait, there’s more. Our boots-on-the-ground folks caught another violation from the same site, where a sediment pond was draining offsite through a culvert. So now, the WVDEP has declared a pattern of violations and is reviewing for possible additional enforcement. But wait, there’s even more.   


Since it took ANR seven months to repair their faulty sediment ditches, you’d think they’d be the best sediment ditches. Well…. This past weekend a concerned citizen shared photos of the ditches. The berms are cracked, slipping, and poorly constructed. So that “fix” wasn’t really a fix after all.


So what’s next? Will the WVDEP give ANR months and months to try again, all the while continuing to blast the mountain into dust in their mad dash to make a buck? Or will the WVDEP shut them down, make them actually fix their violations, and issue a fine that will deter future bad behavior? Stay tuned.


And in the meantime, please consider a contribution to sponsor our work holding scofflaw coal companies and enabling agencies accountable.