Our deputy director and environmental justice attorney Mary Cromer was interviewed for this article.
“Such notices can include multiple violations of performance standards that mining companies are supposed to follow, which can range from environmental monitoring to the stabilization of cliffs left behind by blasting, Cromer said. The data from the state showed 1,219 violations of all performance standards as of the end of February.
‘My overall sense is as coal production has declined, the agency has less and less teeth in its enforcement,’ said Cromer, the citizens’ law center attorney.
‘The primary stick of its enforcement mechanism is the permit block,’ she said, explaining that that’s where the state will prevent violators from getting new mining permits if they have unresolved violations on current mining permits.‘The state can keep writing violations,’ Cromer said. ‘To the extent these companies aren’t interested in getting new permits, they don’t care.’”
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