An environmental coalition is calling an agreement filed Friday in Franklin Circuit Court with the Energy and Environment Cabinet and ICG Coal an “historic settlement” that addresses water pollution and false reporting by the coal company.
If approved by Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd, the agreement calls for more than $500,000 in fines and penalties, which will be used to monitor and clean up polluted waterways in eastern Kentucky and provides for a third party to audit future pollution reports by the company.
Ted Withrow, a retired state Division of Water employee and a member of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, said the agreement meets nearly all of the environmentalists’ goals.
“We got what we needed to protect the people of eastern Kentucky,” Withrow said. “That was our goal going into this litigation and we believe we have a solid agreement that will help us improve the water quality in eastern Kentucky, assure better enforcement of the Clean Water Act and stop the blatant disregard for the people who live downstream from these mining operations.”
Under the terms of the agreement, ICG will pay $335,000 to Kentucky PRIDE to use toward eliminating residential “straight pipes” dumping sewage into streams and another $240,000 the cabinet can use to monitor water quality in Eastern Kentucky streams. Withrow said the second amount will be matched by the federal Office of Surface Mining, increasing its impact.
An initial agreement between the cabinet and ICG in December 2010 would have imposed $350,000 in civil penalties on ICG.
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