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The Citizens Coal Council looked at discharges between 2007 and 2009 at three longwall mines in its investigation. One was Alpha’s Emerald mine and the other two belonged to Consol Energy Inc., a Cecil-based coal and gas company.

Consol’s pattern of violations matched Alpha’s, Mr. Kunz said.

“It would be easy to say this is just one bad actor but it’s across (the industry),” he said.

The Citizens Coal Council considered suing Consol for its violations, as it is now suing Alpha, but decided that Alpha was an easier mark.

Still, according to DEP’s Mr. Stefanko, there might be similar conversations going on between regulators and Consol.

“I’m aware that they’re engaged with the EPA,” he said.

He declined to say whether the DEP is looking into Consol’s compliance history.

Consol and the EPA said they could not comment on potential negotiations.

“Unfortunately, this is not unique” to Alpha, said John Capacasa, director of the water protection division at EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region. “I think we’ve had a number of compliance challenges in Appalachia.”




Information from: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,