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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Coal Company to Pay Record Civil Fine of $27.5 Million for Water Pollution

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Settlement calls for Alpha Natural Resources to clean up water flowing from coal mines in five states. Under the agreement with U.S. and state regulators, Alpha will spend $200 million to reduce pollution from mines in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The company will also pay $27.5 million, the largest civil penalty ever for permit violations under the U.S. Clean Water Act, in connection with more than 6,000 such violations from 2006 to 2013. U.S. regulators said Alpha has “a long history of noncompliance with the Clean Water Act.” But a company official downplayed the extent of the violations, saying that Alpha’s ”total water-quality compliance rate,” taking into account pollutants at all of its operations, was 99.8 percent last year. The New York Times, The Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette

Greenpeace report says Europe’s aging nuclear power plants pose an increasing risk. The report concludes that because of Europe’s heavy dependence on nuclear energy, governments are likely to extend plant operations 20 years or more past their designed limits. It recommends that European Union policies be changed to spur repairs and discourage construction of new plants. Like most nuclear plants, European reactors were built with a 40-year expected lifetime. As they age, operators usually have two options: shut down or make repairs to extend operations. While many critics want the plants to be...

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