Tuesday, January 5, 2010

PA Groups Challenge DEP-Approved Permit

Pennsylvania environmental groups have appealed the Department of Environmental Protection’s decision to allow highly-polluted water to be discharged into a Greene County creek.

PennFuture and The Friends of Dunkard Creek say the DEP amended an earlier, unrelated discharge permit to let Consol Energy dump minimally treated water into Dunkard Creek from their nearby Humphrey Number Seven Mine. The groups allege that this was done without the required public comment period.

In 2003, the state agency permitted acid water discharge from nearby Shannopin Mine to be put into the creek because of an emergency situation in the defunct mine.

Six years later, the creek suffered a massive bloom of algae that killed as many as 22,000 fish. The West Virginia DEP determined that was because of high levels of contaminants.

Now, PennFuture Vice President Heather Sage says the permit for that 2003 process is being reused illegally.

“DEP issued a permit revision to an unrelated operation without any public notice, and against the clear advice of its own experts, after the disaster at Dunkard Creek,” says Sage.

“So they essentially gave Consol the green light to dump dirty water into an already-devastated creek, and they did so very improperly.”

The appeal will go before the state’s Environmental Hearing Board, which oversees DEP decisions.

No comments: