West Virginia to propose change in mine cleanup program

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Federal mine officials have instructed West Virginia environmental regulators to propose a change to its mine cleanup program.

The federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is giving the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection 60 days to submit an amendment to its reclamation program, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

An Aug. 23 letter from federal officials to state officials says a review found that the program “has not taken sufficient steps” to make sure reclamation obligations are estimated correctly. Such a failure can lead to unfunded environmental liabilities. the letter said.

“The WVDEP recognizes the concerns raised in OSMRE’s notice related to reporting and disclosure and those issues will be addressed,” Environmental Protection Department Secretary Harold Ward said in an emailed statement Wednesday. The statement didn’t say what kind of amendment the agency plans to submit.

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s review of the state’s reclamation program follows lawsuits filed by environmentalist groups.

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