- Associated Press - Sunday, December 21, 2014

BRISTOL, Va. (AP) - Seven Alpha Natural Resources affiliates in West Virginia will pay a $350,000 civil penalty to settle selenium discharge lawsuits.

Bristol, Virginia-based Alpha says the settlement resolves three lawsuits involving permits at mines operated by Aracoma, Bandmill, Highland, Kanawha Energy, Marfork, Alex Energy and Independence. The lawsuits were filed by environmental organizations.

Alpha says compliance dates in the settlement are largely consistent with the mines’ existing permits or permit renewal proposals.

Selenium is a naturally occurring element that surface mining and other earth-moving activities can release into waterways. In humans, high-level exposure can damage the kidneys, liver, and central nervous system and circulatory systems.

Alpha announced the settlement Friday in a news release. The company says the settlement allows the mining operations to implement technology into existing compliance plans instead of focusing on litigation.

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