After years of complaints from a private property owner, the state has fined Laurel Mountain Resources $11,000 for failing to report discharges of pollutants from a settlement pond into Raccoon Creek in Floyd County.
The Cabinet for Energy and Environment entered the order, agreed to by Laurel Mountain Resources (LMR), before its administrative hearing office on July 10, more than a year after the specific violation — and two days after CNHI News published stories about mining pollution on the property of Ricky Handshoe and his repeated attempts to get the state to act against the company.
Handshoe said he knew nothing of the settlement until he was asked about it by a reporter, but cabinet officials say Handshoe was informed about negotiations which led to the order.
The order, signed by LMR President Dexter Brian Patton III on June 1 and cabinet Secretary Len Peters on July 10, says: “LMR failed to report a spill or discharge to the Division of Water as required” and that “LMR has degraded the waters of the Commonwealth and has caused pollutants to enter and contributed to the pollution of the waters of the Commonwealth.”
In addition to the $11,000 in civil fines, the order requires Laurel Mountain Resources to “cease all activities which are contributing to the degradation of the waters of the commonwealth” and orders the company to perform remedial measures or face additional $5,000 penalties for future violations for one year.
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