Roger Calhoun, director of OSM's Charleston, W.Va., field office, wrote in a letter to the state that state regulators failed to work with the mining company to create an effective water control and runoff plan. There was a spill last month of blackwater -- pollution from a plant that washes soil and rock off coal -- at the mine site last month.
State regulators said the blackwater appears to have flowed from a treatment pond into a creek. Calhoun, in an interview, said he believes permit deficiencies contributed to the spill. "The state didn't order the operation to cease," he said. "It still has no valid plan to control water. The operator needs a better plan, the state needs to approve it."
West Virginia claims this is a violation of state's rights.