6:45am

Thu September 20, 2012
Environmental Watchdog

Close to Settlement on Pollution Case

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet is close to settling a lawsuit with a coal company over water pollution in eastern Kentucky. The cabinet filed a status report earlier this week that proposes $575,000 in fines for International Coal Group, and expects to finalize the settlement soon.  The case involves several environmental groups too, including Appalachian Voices and Waterkeeper Alliance.

The cabinet initially objected to the environmental groups being allowed to intervene, but the judge granted the groups intervener status anyway.  Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bruce Scott says the dollar amounts of the settlement probably wouldn’t have changed if the groups weren’t involved. But the interveners have also reached an additional arrangement with the company to have a third party audit the company’s data collection.

"It does help, I don’t think there’s any question about that, in terms of additional oversight, but it is something that we didn’t necessarily think was necessary, but we weren’t opposed to doing it in the spirit of trying to settle all these issues,"said Scott.

Scott says the coal companies, the cabinet and the groups all worked well together to resolve the case.