Enviro groups file yet another lawsuit against CONSOL’s Fola Coal unit

Environmental groups that include the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition on Feb. 2 sued the Fola Coal Co. LLC unit of CONSOL Energy (NYSE: CNX) in West Virginia federal court, accusing it of discharging mining waste that threatens aquatic life and prevents residents from recreating in the affected area.

The lawsuit, filed at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, claims Fola violated the Clean Water Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act by discharging pollutants into the Elk River and a tributary, Leatherwood Creek, at the Monoc #2 surface mine in Clay and Nicholas counties.

This case has been assigned to Judge Robert Chambers, a veteran of many similar lawsuits filed over the past 15+ years by environmental groups against coal companies over Clean Water Act issues. Some of those prior lawsuits have been filed specifically against Fola Coal.

The plaintiffs in this latest lawsuit said they issued a notice of intent to sue in April 2014 to Fola Coal and to state and federal regulators. They reiterated that intent in November 2014.

Notable is that the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration database shows all of the registered Fola Coal operations as not in operation. That includes two deep mines that are listed as new operations with no production yet. West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection mine permit data shows the 644-acre Monoc #2 strip mine as largely reclaimed.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.