Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 30, 2013

Feds to probe 5 aspects of W.Va. mining oversight

Associated Press

CHARLESTON —  The federal government says it will examine five aspects of West Virginia’s regulation of surface coal mining in response to a petition by 18 environmental, civic and religious groups.

The organizations claimed in a petition last summer that the state Department of Environmental Protection has shown “callous disregard” for both the environment and federal law. They lodged 19 specific allegations and asked the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to investigate and temporarily take over the state program.

The federal office said Monday that it has dismissed 14 of the allegations but will investigate the other five. The office said in a news release that federal regulations prohibit an immediate takeover of the program without further evaluation of the complaints.