Arch Coal, Inc. has agreed to settle alleged Clean Water Act (CWA) violations by four of its mining operations in Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky for a civil penalty payment of $4 million and a commitment to cut the mines’ pollutant releases by 2 million pounds annually. United States v. Arch Coal, Inc., No. N/A (S.D. W. Va. lodged 3/1/11). EPA had alleged that the company discharged pollutants without a permit in violation of section 301 of the CWA and failed to comply with section 402 permit conditions.
The alleged violations concern deficiencies in wastewater treatment operations at Coal Mac Inc., Lone Mountain Processing Inc., Cumberland River Coal Co., and Mingo Logan Coal Co. facilities. In addition to the penalty and pollution reductions, the company agreed to develop and implement a compliance management system to ensure CWA compliance. The system will include a series of inspections, audits and other tracking measures. The proposed settlement has been lodged in federal court and is subject to a 30-day comment period and court approval.