October 3, 2011
Arch Agrees to Pay $2M to Settle Pollution Lawsuit
CNBC reported today regarding a settlement agreement reached in a proceeding against Arch Coal Inc. brought under the Clean Water Act. Under the settlement, Arch Coal will be contributing $1.8 million to the WVU College of Law’s Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic, which is part of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development. As reported accurately by CNBC, we plan to hire a lead land-use attorney, two supporting attorneys and an experienced land-use planner next year, along with a full-time office manager and an additional faculty member at the law school who specializes in real estate and water law. Appalachian Mountain Advocates and, in particular, Joe Lovett and Derek Teaney, led the charge in going after Arch Coal regarding selenium pollution from six West Virginia coal mines. The case involves subsidiaries Coal-Mac Inc. and Mingo Logan Coal Co., and the consent decree was filed late last week in U.S. District Court in Huntington. The lawsuit over federal Clean Water Act violations was brought by the West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and Coal River Mountain Watch. As part of the settlement, Arch also agreed pay the Appalachian Mountain Advocates more than $145,000 to cover the plaintiffs’ costs in bringing the case, including fees for attorneys and expert witnesses.
The WVU College of Law and its Center for Energy and Sustainable Development will be reporting more on the settlement later, and our specific plans for the use of the settlement proceeds, which are detailed in the settlement decree filed with the U.S District Court last week. But a big THANK YOU to Joe, Derek and Appalachian Mountain Advocates for their significant role in having the settlement money directed to our newly formed Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic. We will use the proceeds wisely to enhance protection of West Virginia’s watersheds through education and training directed at county and local government officials to promote adoption of sustainable land use policies and practices.