Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition v. Fola Coal Co.

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20026
Nos. 2:13-5006, (S.D. W. Va., 01/27/2015) (Chambers, C.J.)

A district court held a West Virginia coal mine liable under the CWA for discharging excessive amounts of ionic pollution, measured as conductivity and sulfates, into the waters of West Virginia in violation of its NPDES permits. Environmental groups established, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the mine has committed at least one violation of its permits by discharging high levels of ionic pollution into U.S. waters. As a result, the water chemistry has been dramatically altered, containing levels of ionic salts that are scientifically proven to be seriously detrimental to aquatic life. In addition, species diversity—and, in some areas, overall aquatic life abundance—is profoundly reduced. The discharges, therefore, have caused or materially contributed to a significant adverse impact to the chemical and biological components of the applicable stream’s aquatic ecosystem in violation of West Virginia's narrative water quality standards incorporated into the mine's permits.