Genwal, Utah at odds over Crandall Canyon pollution

CRANDALL Canyon mine operator and Murray Energy division Genwal Resources is reportedly speaking to Utah state officials this week after a sizeable three-year bond was demanded of the miner to guarantee treatment of groundwater coming from the now-closed mine.
Genwal, Utah at odds over Crandall Canyon pollution Genwal, Utah at odds over Crandall Canyon pollution Genwal, Utah at odds over Crandall Canyon pollution Genwal, Utah at odds over Crandall Canyon pollution Genwal, Utah at odds over Crandall Canyon pollution

Crandall Canyon mine.

Donna Schmidt

Since collapsing in 2007 in two incidents that killed nine miners and rescuers, Crandall Canyon has had drainage of iron-rich water. Genwal has reportedly been cleaning that water before it is discharged into local creeks.

However, the Utah Board of Oil, Gas and Mining Department of Natural Resources recently ordered a $US720,000 increase to the operator’s bond to guarantee the completion of the work.

Genwal, according to an Associated Press, report, was to argue its case before the board for an agreeable bond amount of $480,000, or two years of treatment.

“Genwal respectfully requests that the board consider the amount of current bonding in light of Genwal’s existing reclamation obligations, including water treatment, and recalculate the bond adjustment accordingly,” the company said in a department filing earlier this month requesting a meeting.

No outcome from that hearing was available at press time.

An ILN request for comment from a Murray Energy spokesperson has also gone unanswered.

In March, four-and-a-half years after the fatal Crandall Canyon collapse, Genwal agreed to a $500,000 settlement following its admission to two misdemeanor criminal charges.

US Attorney for the District of Utah David Barlow had filed a two-count information that charges the Murray Energy affiliate with two criminal violations of Federal Mine Safety and Health Act regulations.

The office came to a plea agreement with the operator agreeing to plead guilty to both counts and pay the maximum fine allowed of $250,000 per count.

In its admission of guilt, the producer said it willfully did not report an earlier March 2007 outburst in a timely manner and also admitted it was aware of the approved roof control plan amendment prohibiting mining at the barrier pillar in the No. 1 area of the mine.

Also under the plea agreement, the US Attorney’s Office was not to bring other charges against Genwal or its associated companies, individuals, officers or directors, and particularly those related to the August 2007 accidents and the investigation.

Six miners were trapped inside the Crandall Canyon mine following a mine collapse on August 6, 2007. Ten days after the rescue attempt started, another coal outburst left three rescuers dead and injured six others.

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