Thirteen coal companies owned by the family of West Virginia Governor Jim Justice are being sued for not paying the penalties owed for previously violating mining laws. The US Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement has cited the companies for over 130 violations that add up to around $7.6 million owed in past due fines. These include failing to ensure the seismic stability of a dam, failing to clear rock debris from roads, and not properly disposing of waste, among other violations.
The companies were ordered more than 50 times to stop mining activities until the violations were corrected. Governor Justice, a one-time Democrat and estimated billionaire, is challenging Senator Joe Manchin in a Senate election bid next year. Earlier this year, a federal appellate court upheld a $2.5 million penalty against Justice family-owned mines over other environmental regulation violations. (AP, CNBC, Guardian, Axios, HuffPost, The Hill, Quartz $)