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Sun Jan 8, 2012, 08:28 AM

Bear Run coal mine story in Indy Star [View all]

Looking to expand the state's lead in water pollution?

Indiana has the highest amount of toxic discharges to bodies of water among all states, according to a review of 2007 federal data by the policy group Environment America, the most recent such analysis. Indiana released 27 million pounds of toxic waste into its waterways that year -- 49 percent more than the next highest state and more than 11 percent of the nation's total.


You have to know your regulatory process is inadequate when West Virginia officials talk about how backward it is:

"You're behind the times in Indiana," said Deputy Director Lewis Halstead of the Division of Mining and Reclamation at West Virginia's Department of Environmental Protection.


See no evil...

Bruno Pigott, the assistant commissioner of IDEM's Office of Water Quality, said the state also might detect problems during its occasional tests of state water bodies. And, he said, coal mines are supposed to volunteer evidence of any additional pollutants to the state.

"If they don't know about something being discharged," Pigott acknowledged, "then they can't report something."


This is a disgrace. One thing I wonder, though, is what would happen if independent testing revealed a problem with one of the pollutants they're (deliberately) not testing for. Would that trigger a review of the permit?

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