Despite advice from the attorney general's office to reject a permit filed by a Virginia coal company to discharge mine water into Pike County's Levisa River the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will allow Consol Energy to move forward.
“We have a lot of eyes out here. Nearly a half million visitors come here to fish every year,” Rodney Holbrook said.
How the fish and the Levisa River will be effected is the biggest unanswered question for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Resource Manager Rodney Holbrook.
“Right now we'll have to rely on Kentucky and Virginia officials and we'll monitor it as well and we'll just have to see if we need to take further action,” Holbrook said.
Officials say equipment will be ready next week to begin pumping one billion gallons of mine water from a southwest Virginia mine, water with a high chloride content that will eventually flow into the Levisa River.
“With the increased monitoring that I think's gonna go on I think that a problem would show up in the monitoring before it got to a point we had a fish kill or something that would be a danger to health and public safety,” Holbrook said.
Attorney General Greg Stumbo has fought the permit since it was filed last January and has vowed to hold consol legally responsible if any discharge harms Kentucky's waterways.
We tried to contact Consol Energy for comment but no one returned our calls.
To report pollution into Kentucky waterways you can call the attorney general's STOP program, which is Sportsmen & Sportswomen To Oppose Pollution, by calling 1-866-749-STOP.