The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection is proposing a settlement with a coal company over thousands of alleged violations of the Clean Water Act in eastern Kentucky. The deal is among the highest the state has ever levied for pollution penalties, but environmental groups say it still falls short.
The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet filed a consent agreement earlier this week with Bardstown-based coal company Nally and Hamilton to address numerous violations of the Clean Water Act. They’re proposing the violations be settled for $507,000.
This comes six months after environmental groups announced their intent to sue the company.
Coal companies are required to report how much pollution they release into waterways. Non-profit Appalachian Voices found that many of Nally and Hamilton’s monthly reports looked familiar…as if the company were copying numbers from one month and pasting them in another.
“It would be like you filing the same tax return to the IRS year after year,” Donna Lisenby of Appalachian Voices said.
This point—that Nally and Hamilton didn’t accurately report their pollution—is one of the few on which the state and Appalachian Voices agree. After a performance audit, the Department for Environmental Protection issued a violation in January telling the company that it had missed several reports, and reminding them of their obligation to report discharge.