Governor-Elect Faces Thousands in Fines

CHARLESTON– A federal judge has approved a water pollution deal in which companies owned by West Virginia Gov.-elect Jim Justice will pay $900,000 in fines.

According to the Charleston Gazette Mail, that isĀ an amount that government lawyers disclosed in court records was based at least partly on what those lawyers called the “limited financial ability” of Justice’s companies to pay.

The settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, proposed and publicly announced in late September, resolved more than 23,000 federal Clean Water Act violations between 2009 and 2014 in West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama.

Overall, the cost of the settlement for Justice’s Southern Coal Corp. and 26 affiliated companies is nearly $6 million, but most of that is for what EPA estimated to be $5 million for “comprehensive upgrades” to prevent discharges of polluted wastewater from coal-mining operations across Appalachia.

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