The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, represented by the Justice Dept., and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection on Dec. 10 filed with a federal court both a lawsuit against and a consent decree settling the lawsuit issues with James C. Justice Companies Inc., coal operator James C. Justice II and High Mountain Living LLC.
The lawsuit, lodged at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, alleges that defendants violated Section 301(a) of the Clean Water Act and the West Virginia Water Pollution Control Act by discharging pollutants, including dredged or fill material, and/or controlling and directing the discharge of pollutants, including dredged or fill material, into waters of the United States and/or the state, without authorization, at certain locations along Turkey Creek and an unnamed tributary of Turkey Creek in Monroe County, West Virginia.
The defendants, at their own expense and at the direction of EPA, would need to restore and/or mitigate the impacts caused by their allegedly unlawful activities, and pay civil penalties. The consent decree is intended to constitute a complete and final settlement of the federal and state claims.
The court will put this deal up for comment and then would need to sign off on it.