Judge rules against Patriot in selenium pollution case
September 1, 2010 ·
A federal judge issued a ruling Tuesday against Patriot Coal for selenium violations. The company must install equipment to clean up pollution at two mines in southern West Virginia during the next 2 1/2 years.
U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers issued a contempt order
against Patriot subsidiary Apogee Coal and said he'll appoint a special master
to oversee his directions.
The ruling affects the Ruffner and Hobet 21 mines.
St. Louis-based Patriot must also post a $45 million letter of credit.
President Richard Whiting says Patriot is disappointed in
the ruling because the company has been leading the way to find solutions to selenium pollution.
He says the equipment to be installed has potential but has
never been used commercially. It will cost the St. Louis-based company $50 million to install and $3 million a year to operate.
Selenium is a naturally occurring element that is released
into waterways during mountaintop removal mining. Studies have found
it's toxic to aquatic life. High-level exposure has been linked to human health