Kentucky's two largest surface coal mine operators will pay $660,000 to the state because of violations found at labs that test water discharged into streams.
In addition, the state is expanding its investigation into about two dozen other laboratories that contract with the coal industry. Gov. Steve Beshear on Friday called for the labs to be certified by the state, something required for labs that test drinking water but not for coal industry-specific labs.
After four environmental groups filed a federal notices of intent to sue ICG of Hazard and Knott County and Frasure Creek Mining, the state Energy and Environment Cabinet began auditing the companies' water discharge monitoring reports. The environmental groups had reviewed two years' worth of discharge monitoring reports and on Oct. 7 accused the companies of falsifying data and polluting the state's waterways.
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