Groups sue over water pollution from W.Va. mine

Lawsuit says W.Va. surface mine polluting streams, violating state water-quality standards

Associated Press

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Three environmental groups are suing Fola Coal Co. over runoff from a surface mine in Nicholas and Clay counties that they say has damaged streams.

The Sierra Club, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition filed the complaint Thursday in federal court in Huntington.

They say sulfate and dissolved solids are harming aquatic life.

The case mirrors one that led to a settlement with Fola last year, requiring cleanup of another waterway.

In both cases, the groups argue the pollution violates West Virginia's "narrative" water-quality standards, or those that set general criteria rather than numerical limits for specific pollutants.

The lawsuit says more than 60 percent of the land area in the Leatherwood Creek watershed has been permitted for coal mining.

Fola has yet to file a response.

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