Judge: Southwest Va. coal operator's discharges are illegal
BIG STONE GAP, Va. (AP) -- A federal judge says a coal company is illegally discharging selenium into a creek in Wise County.
U.S. District Judge James P. Jones says A&G Coal Corp.'s state pollution discharge permit for its Kelly Branch mine doesn't authorize the selenium discharges into Callahan Creek.
He ordered A&G to apply for a permit modification to allow the discharges, perform regular tests and submit the results to the state. The company also must submit quarterly status reports to the court.
Media outlets report that Jones issued his ruling Monday. The decision came in a lawsuit filed by the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, Sierra Club and Appalachian Voices.
A&G lawyer Corinne Martin says the company is evaluating its options.
Studies have found selenium harmful to aquatic life, and to humans with high-level exposure.