West Virginia Senate advancing bill on water pollution

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The West Virginia Senate is advancing legislation that would delete a section of state regulations on water pollution by surface coal mining.

The bill from the Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Committee, now on the Senate floor, would cut a requirement that the mining company get certification afterward that it has mitigated damage to streams or more than 250 acres (101 hectares) of watershed.

The current law says mitigation costs cannot exceed $200,000 per acre.

Committee Chairman Randy Smith, a Davis Republican, did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

The West Virginia Rivers Coalition, an environmental group, says this is a coal industry-backed bill that would mean coal companies would no longer have to go through the process of certifying surface mining won’t impact state waters.

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