Settlement approved for coal mines owned by governor-elect

Published: Dec. 15, 2016 at 12:39 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A federal judge has approved a settlement requiring a $900,000 civil penalty and pollution reductions by Appalachian coal mines owned by West Virginia Governor-elect Jim Justice.

The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice announced the settlement in September with Southern Coal Corp. and 26 affiliates. It was approved this week by U.S. District Judge Glen Conrad.

The settlement resolves allegations of Clean Water Act violations from Justice-owned mines in Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

It requires Southern Coal to use an EPA-approved environmental management system, undergo compliance auditing, implement data tracking, and pay escalating penalties for future violations.

It calls for the company to set up a public website about water test results and to produce a $4.5 million letter of credit to ensure work is done.