AMVEST-Fola Complex

From Global Energy Monitor

The AMVEST-Fola Complex is an underground and surface coal mining operation in Bickmore, West Virginia, owned by CONSOL Energy.[1] The complex was acquired by CONSOL as part of its 2007 acquisition of AMVEST Corporation.[2]

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CONSOL idling mines in West Virginia

In December 2009, CONSOL announced it was idling two mines in West Virginia that employ about 500 people. Chief Operating Officer Nicholas DeIuliis blamed environmental activists for the closures, saying that "the nation's energy industries are coming under repeated assault from nuisance lawsuits and appeals of environmental regulations." The two mines affected are the Little Eagle Coal Co. mine and the Fola Coal Co. mine. In a lawsuit brought by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC), a federal judge suspended CONSOL's Clean Water Act permit for part of the operations. Without these operations, CONSOL said it was unable to meet the requirements of its coal sales contracts. Jane Keating, executive director of OVEC, said that CONSOL's accusations of blame were misplaced and that "miners should be asking the companies to follow the law."[3]

On December 28, 2009, U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers changed his ruling to allow CONSOL to continue mining at the sites while the legal dispute over the company's fill permits continues. In his latest order, Chambers noted that OVEC did not oppose the decision.[4]

Water violations

In November 2011, Fola Coal parent company CONSOL Energy signed on to a legal settlement agreeing to clean up conductivity pollution associated with a valley fill at the Fola Surface Mine No. 3 in Clay and Nicholas counties. The settlement, which requires approval from U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver, resolves a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club and the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy in October 2010. Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Environmental Quality Board have cited conductivity increases downstream from mining operations as a key problem the state Department of Environmental Protection isn't doing enough about. Under the settlement, CONSOL will first be able to try its own version of a stream restoration project, involving creation of floodplain and sulfate-reducing wetlands, to clean up about 3,000 feet of Boardtree Branch. Biological samples will be taken after the project and an independent biologist will decide if aquatic life has improved. If the CONSOL project doesn't work, the company must build a more expensive treatment system at the site, the settlement says. The agreement also requires Fola to pay $200,000 to the West Virginia Land Trust to help fund the West Virginia University College of Law's new Land Use and Sustainable Development Clinic. The company must also pay a $25,000 fine to the federal government. Earlier in 2011, CONSOL agreed to build a $200 million treatment system aimed at resolving water quality problems at four of its mining complexes in north-central West Virginia.[5]

Mine Data

  • Owner: Fola Coal Company
  • Parent company: CONSOL Energy
  • Location: Bickmore, West Virginia
  • GPS coordinates: 38.357946, -81.043396
  • Production: 3.9 million tons (2008)
  • Type of coal: Bituminous
  • Mine type: Underground, Surface
  • Equipment: Long Wall and Continuous Mining
  • Number of employees:
  • Recoverable reserves: 104 million tons

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  1. "Map of Mines: West Virginia", CONSOL Energy website, November 2009.
  2. "CONSOL Energy Annual Report through December 31, 2008" EDGAR Online, Filed February 17, 2009
  3. "Consol idling two mines, blames environmentalists," Reuters, December 8, 2009.
  4. "Fed. Judge Allows Coal Company to Continue Mining," Associated Press, December 30, 2009.
  5. Ken Ward Jr., "CONSOL agrees to stream cleanup settlement" Charleston Gazette, November 30, 2011.
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