Monday, January 11, 2010

Climate Denier's Coal Company Violated Clean Water Act 12,000 Times (No Exaggeration)

From our friends at the Sierra Club today comes something pretty shocking:

In a mere two years since it was fined more than $20 million for major violations of the Clean Water Act, coal giant Massey Energy - the company run by notorious global warming science denier Don Blankenship - appears to have violated the Act another 12,000 times, according to the Sierra Club. Per the AP news report:
Several environmental groups are threatening to sue coal producer Massey Energy Co. for what they claim are more than 12,000 violations of pollution laws.

The Sierra Club and several West Virginia groups said Monday they've given Massey a notice that gives the company 60 days to reach a settlement or face a lawsuit.

The groups claim Massey has continued with the same pattern of violations covered by a $20 million settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency two years ago.
The company's response? In a well honed strategy displayed just last week when scientists issued a report on the human health risks of mountaintop mining, Massey issued a combative, campaign-style statement attacking the groups and questioning their motives:
"On first review, the data and conclusions in the notice appear to be significantly incorrect," Massey said, adding that the company's rate of compliance with environmental laws is above 99 percent. "The threatened suit is but another attempt by out-of-state extremists to attack the coal industry."
It would appear, however, that the pesky 1 percent of the time the company was not in compliance with environmental laws was more than enough to leave a wide trail of destruction in its wake. In addition to the $20 million EPA fine, a quick review shows:

• Over 700 miles of rivers and streams have been buried by waste rock left over from mountaintop removal practices in which Massey Energy has participated.

• In Oct. 2000, a Massey subsidiary spilled 306 million gallons of coal slurry (mmm… slurry) into Coldwater Creek and Wolf Creek in Martin County, Kentucky. The EPA has called the accident the worst environmental disaster in the Southeastern United States, with a cleanup bill of $50 million.

• Numerous safety laws have been violated at Massey mines with deadly consequences. In 2008, Massey paid $4.2 million – the largest settlement in coal industry history – to the families of workers killed in a West Virginia mine fire worsened by inadequate safety equipment.

We'll file this one together with our Peabody Energy post under "Big Coal Behaving Badly." What a Monday!

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