Citizens' group sues over Pa. longwall pollution

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 31, 2012 at 2:02 pm •  Published: December 31, 2012
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Under the Clean Water Act, citizens' groups can sue for enforcement of pollution standards and seek penalties of up to $37,500 per day for violations. The Department of Environmental Protection is not being sued, nor is the federal Environmental Protection Agency, but the Center for Coalfield Justice indicates it has given those agencies 60 days' notice of the alleged violations so it could sue in hopes the court will order compliance and issue monetary penalties.

DEP spokesman John Poister said the agency doesn't want to comment until it can carefully review the lawsuit.

Among other things, the lawsuit contends that runoff and other pollution from the mining is fouling the South Fork Tenmile Creek, along with other Monongahela tributaries.

The South Fork is designated by the DEP as a "high quality warm water fishery" upstream of the mine and a "warm water fishery" below the mine. But the lawsuit contends the DEP's 2012 Draft Water Quality Monitoring Report lists the South Fork as "impaired and not attaining its aquatic life use."

"As an already impaired water body, it is essentially that no further strain from industrial and other pollutants be placed on the South Fork," the lawsuit said.