Murray Energy settles environmental lawsuit

A TENTATIVE settlement for undisclosed terms has been made in the federal environmental lawsuit filed by Ohio-based producer Murray Energy in 2006.

Donna Schmidt

According to regional newspaper the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, owner Robert E Murray claimed the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection – the agency with environmental jurisdiction over the company’s High Quality mine in Washington County – exercised disproportionate regulatory enforcement of his property.

Murray said his decision to idle High Quality in December 2004 was made because of regulatory restrictions against mining underneath a stream, according to the paper.

A Murray Energy spokesperson declined to comment to ILN.

The state and the operator now have 59 days to finalise their settlement.

According to statistics from the US Mine Safety and Health Administration, High Quality produced 1.79 million tons of coal in 2004 in 829,127 recorded manhours.

The mine had 28 operator non-fatal days lost injuries and an overall NFDL rate for the year of 6.75 versus the national average of 5.6.

Murray still holds two active mines in the region, the Century mine and the Ohio Valley No. 6 operation in southeast Ohio. Both are longwall mines.

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