Environmental center sues coal mining firm over discharges

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A coal mine just south of Waynesburg has been discharging too much pollution into South Fork, which eventually flows into the Monongahela River, according to a lawsuit filed today by the Center for Coalfield Justice against Emerald Coal Resources.

The center, based in Washington, Pa., is a nonprofit group focused on protecting the Monongahela. It is getting legal help from a Massachusetts-based attorney with the Earthrise Law Center.

Emerald is a Delaware company with its principal operations in Waynesburg, the complaint said.

The complaint said that from January through September of this year, discharges from Emerald Mine #1 exceeded permitted amounts 121 times.

Emerald has allowed too much iron, manganese, aluminum and suspended solids into the water system, the complaint said. That can kill fish, it said.

It said the company has violated its permits "more than 400 times in the last five years and failed to conduct or report required monitoring.

"Due to the chronic and persistent nature of these violations, there is more than a reasonable likelihood of ongoing permit violations in the future," the complaint said.

The lawsuit said that Emerald should be ordered to stop the discharges and could be penalized by $37,500 per day.

Emerald executives could not be immediately reached for comment.

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord


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