The Sierra Club said May 3 that a coalition of groups took action to stop A&G Coal Corp., which is a Virginia producer controlled by coal operator Jim Justice II, from polluting local waterways.
Water monitoring conducted by the groups shows that A&G’s Kelly Branch mine in Wise County is dumping toxic selenium into streams at levels above state water quality standards, even though the mine’s permit does not allow such pollution, the environmental group said. The groups’ lawsuit alleges that these unpermitted discharges violate the Clean Water Act and the 1977 federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.
This lawsuit represents the first such action to protect rivers and streams in Virginia from selenium. The groups bringing the lawsuit are Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, Appalachian Voices and the Sierra Club.
“The more we learn about mountaintop removal mining, the more we understand how this destructive practice pollutes our rivers, streams and communities,” said Glen Besa, Director of Sierra Club’s Virginia Chapter. “Companies like A&G Coal must be held accountable for cleaning up this pollution, and must bear the true costs of the harm they’re causing.”