Groups reach $6M West Virginia coal mine cleanup deal


HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) – A $6 million settlement has been reached in federal court that will restore damage from West Virginia mountaintop removal mines.

The Sierra Club, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy announced the settlement with the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund. A consent decree was entered Friday in U.S. District Court in Huntington.

The Legacy Fund bought the coal mines involved from bankrupt Patriot Coal last year. The agreement resolves a Clean Water Act lawsuit originally filed against the coal company.

Appalachian Headwaters will lead reclamation, including stream restoration and reforestation. The Legacy Fund won’t conduct surface mining, except to aid reclamation.

Environmental groups say it allows a three-and-a-half year extension to decrease the amount of selenium in surface water.

The settlement involves a site in Boone and Lincoln counties where Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has proposed building a business park.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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