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Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition v. Maple Coal Co.

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20288
Nos. 3:11-0009, (S.D. W. Va., 09/02/2011)

A district court held that environmental groups are entitled to injunctive relief and civil penalties in their CWA citizen suit against a coal company for violating the water quality standards for selenium set forth in its permit. Although an enforcement action was already ongoing in state court when the groups filed their suit, that action was not being diligently prosecuted, and nothing has occurred in that action to moot the instant case. In addition, an injunction is proper because the company has been in frequent violation of the selenium effluent limitations contained in its permit since April 2010, legal penalties are inadequate to compensate the groups for their injury, and the public will be served by the protection of aquatic resources. Similarly, because the company violated the selenium effluent limitations contained in its permit, a civil penalty must be assessed.