West Virginia Senate votes to ax water pollution provision

February 22, 2018

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The West Virginia Senate has voted unanimously for a bill that would delete a section of state law governing water pollution by surface coal mining.

The bill from the Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Committee would cut a requirement that the mining company get certification afterward that it mitigated damage to streams or more than 250 acres (101 hectares) of watershed.

The provision says mitigation costs cannot exceed $200,000 per acre.

Committee Chairman Randy Smith, a Davis Republican and sponsor, described only other provisions before Thursday’s vote, saying this conforms state law to federal law.

He says industry stakeholders and the state Department of Environmental Protection agreed.

The West Virginia Rivers Coalition, an environmental group, says the coal industry-backed bill was made available only Monday without time to analyze it.

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