The Justice Department filed a lawsuit on Tuesday towards the coal empire of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice over $5 million in unpaid fines associated to health, security and environmental violations.
The civil action names as defendants 13 of the Justice household coal companies ― primarily based in West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware and Tennessee ― and the governor’s son, James Justice III.
“Defendants have been cited for over 130 violations and have failed to pay over $5 million in civil penalties assessed by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement,” the 128-page lawsuit states, including that the Justice household companies additionally owe greater than $190,000 in charges associated to deserted mine lands.
The billionaire Republican governor, who simply launched a marketing campaign for the Senate seat held by conservative Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in West Virginia, didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
The civil penalties assessed by the Department of the Interior concern violations from 2018 to 2022. They embody a failure to make sure the seismic stability of a dam, illegal discharges outdoors the allow space, a failure to stabilize floor areas to manage erosion and a failure to make sure revegetation is suitable with the area’s pure environment.
Justice’s coal empire has been cited for quite a few different security violations. In 2020, a ProPublica investigation discovered that over the previous three many years, his firms had been tied up in additional than 600 lawsuits and paid $128 million in judgments and settlements.