Feds: West Virginia Mining Regulations Aren’t Being Enforced

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Federal officials say the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has failed numerous times to enforce state rules governing the coal-mining industry.

News outlets say a three-year investigation by the Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation Enforcement concluded that the department exhibited a lack of proper water quality monitoring, poor oversight of reclamation standards and inconsistent efforts to ensure mountaintop removal doesn’t cause localized flooding.

The report says mine inspectors weren’t collecting quarterly water pollution samples, even at mines which had repeatedly violated permit limits.

The DEP was privately told of the findings last fall and has said it would more than double the state water sampling budget this year.

DEP spokesman Jake Glance did not immediately respond to requests for comment.