One of the country’s largest coal mining companies has agreed to pay the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) $2 million to settle allegations over water pollution.
The EPA alleged that Arch Coal Inc. subsidiaries illegally discharged pollutants at mines in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, in violation of the Clean Water Act.
In addition to the penalty, Arch has agreed to upgrade certain parts of its operations to better protect against future pollution.
“Businesses have an obligation to ensure that their operations don’t threaten the communities they serve, especially those that are overburdened by or more vulnerable to pollution,” Cynthia Giles, head of the EPA’s enforcement office, said in a statement.
“This settlement will prevent future environmental and public health risks by making sure these companies comply with federal and state clean water laws,” she said.
In a complaint filed along with the proposed settlement, the EPA charged that 14 mines owned by International Coal Group Inc., an Arch unit, exceeded discharge limits of pollutants like aluminum, manganese and iron over six years.
Arch spokeswoman Logan Bonacorsi said the vast majority of the pollution happened at International mines before Arch bought the company in 2011.
“Arch has already implemented its compliance management system which has addressed the underlying causes and helped deliver the exceptional results we are now achieving,” she said in a statement.
Arch did not admit guilt as part of the settlement.
West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania participated in the case against Arch as co-plaintiffs.