Coal giant settles with EPA to comply with Clean Water Act

Aug. 7, 2015

WASHINGTON — The agreement includes a $2 million penalty and upgrades to operations.

WASHINGTON — Arch Coal Inc. and 14 of its subsidiaries under the International Coal Group Inc. (ICG) have reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to resolve allegations it violated the Clean Water Act, according to a press release.

One of the nation’s largest coal companies, Arch Coal Inc. will pay a $2 million civil penalty and make broad operations upgrades to comply with the Clean Water Act, noted the release. Hundreds of violations were found regarding illegal discharges of pollutants at coal mines in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

"Businesses have an obligation to ensure that their operations don’t threaten the communities they serve, especially those that are overburdened by or more vulnerable to pollution," said Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, in the release. "This settlement will prevent future environmental and public health risks by making sure these companies comply with federal and state clean water laws."

The complaint alleges that OCG violated discharge limits for aluminum, manganese, iron and total suspended solids in the last six years on more than 1,200 occasions, reported the release. The companies will implement additional measures including:

  • Developing and implementing a compliance management system
  • Periodic internal and third-party environmental compliance audits
  • Maintaining a data management system to track violations, water sampling data and compliance efforts
  • Providing training for environmental managers and others responsible for the consent decree
  • Paying escalating stipulated penalties if violations continue to occur

You can find the entire release here.