Deputy Director Mary Cromer was interviewed for this article.
“At least for the permits that the judge ordered to be abandoned, the ruling will mean that reclamation should soon begin on those strip mines, said Mary Cromer, deputy director of the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center Inc., which represents citizens groups in the case. She said many are looming safety and environmental hazards for people who live near them. In court testimony, residents and state regulators described mines with unstable slopes presenting landslide risks, and clogged pipes putting retention ponds containing polluted water at risk of overflowing.
The fate of reclamation of the mines covered by the company’s other permits will, unfortunately, remain uncertain, Cromer said.
The judge required coal mining companies that might purchase the permits to take reclamation responsibility should they eventually go bankrupt, she said. But their financial condition in a weakened coal industry makes that also uncertain, she said.
‘It’s not ideal,’ she said. ‘It’s a terrible situation.’”