Environmentalists sue for cleanup at bankrupt mine sites

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SUMMERSVILLE, W.Va. (AP) – Environmental groups are taking legal action to require the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to treat water pollution at bankrupt coal mines in Barbour, Nicholas and Preston counties.

News outlets report that West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, West Virginia Rivers Coalition and the West Chapter of the Sierra Club filed two lawsuits in two federal courts on April 20. The plaintiffs accuse West Virginia of violating the Clean Water Act by allowing excessive amounts of pollutants to discharge from the abandoned coal mine sites.

Calling for more funding for water treatment, the lawsuits say seven former mine sites in the state are discharging excessive pollutants into various creeks and streams.

WVDEP spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater declined to comment on the lawsuits.

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