As announced March 14, Consol Energy agreed to pay $5.5M in civil penalties to the EPA, US Dept. of Justice, and state of West Virginia for Clean Water Act violations at six West Virginia mines. Consol, the largest underground mining company in the country, agreed to spend $200 million in pollution controls to reduce discharges of mining waste water into Appalachian rivers and streams.
In a separate agreement Consol agreed to pay $500,000 to West Virginia’s DEP for natural resources damage to Dunkard Creek in Monogalia County. Dunkard Creek runs along the PA-WV border, and in the summer of 2009 there was a massive fish kill along a 30-mile stretch of the creek. For months the cause of the kill was in dispute, attracting national attention. Pennsylvania DEP’s handling of the case was criticized by the Sierra Club, and PennFuture and Friends of Dunkard Creek appealed DEP’s decision to grant Consol Energy a permit for further mining waste water into the Creek. In February 2010 the PA DEP voided Consol’s water discharge permit because ”it has come to the Department’s attention that this permit was improvidently granted because several issues were overlooked and not addressed during the permit review”.