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Groups claim conditions at coal mines got worse following miner protests

(Connor James/WYMT)
Published: Jun. 18, 2020 at 11:09 AM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT/LEXINGTON HERALD LEADER) - A letter released Wednesday from community and environmental groups claim ongoing violations at mines formerly owned by Blackjewel aren’t being addressed and actually have gotten worse since a massive protest last summer in Harlan County.

The letter, written by Mary Varson Cromer, deputy director of the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center in Whitesburg, represents the groups Kentuckians For the Commonwealth, Citizens Coal Council, Appalachian Voices, Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center, Kentucky Resources Council, the Sierra Club, the Powder River Basin Resource Council and Kanawha Forest Coalition.

Our news partners at the Lexington Herald Leader report the bankrupt company was supposed to start transferring mining permits to other companies willing to reclaim them. In the letter, the groups claim, as of May, there was no activity to transfer 149 of the 213 permits the company holds in Kentucky. They are concerned that Blackjewel will request to abandon dozens of mines across the state.

The paper cites a previous report from state officials saying the company didn’t post nearly enough bond money to cover the full cost, meaning millions of dollars in work would be shifted to a state fund.

The letter also claims Blackjewel has not made required environmental monitoring reports to state and federal regulators and that violations have worsened at its Kentucky mines.

You can read the full article from the Herald Leader here: https://www.kentucky.com/news/local/coal/article243609217.html

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