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Coal Producer Fined For Clean Water Act Violations

ABC Tropical North

One of the nation's largest coal producers will pay the largest fine of its type ever levied for violations of the Clean Water Act.

Alpha Natural Resources has agreed to a settlement to pay more than 27 million dollars in fines and spend another 200 million dollars to reduce illegal toxic discharges into waterways across five Appalachian states, including Kentucky.

The federal government says Alpha Natural Resources and its subsidiaries violated water pollution limits more than 6,000 times between 2006 and last year. The company is also accused of discharging heavy metals harmful to fish and other wildlife directly into rivers and streams.

Alpha Vice President Gene Kitts says the company operates a lot of mines, and overall has a nearly perfect compliance rate.

“It’s a reflection of the people that we have out in the field at these operations, doing their best to keep the water clean, but by virtue of this consent decree, we acknowledge that we have to do better,” said Kitts.

Alpha and its subsidiaries agreed to take measures to reduce discharges from 79 active coal mines and 25 processing plants in Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

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