Enforcement

Even as we work for laws that would do a better job of protecting our health, homes, land and environment, we know that our current laws need to be enforced if we are to have any protection at all.

Coal companies have an obligation to obey the law just as state and federal officials have the responsibility to enforce laws. Unfortunately, both fail too often at their responsibilities, and workers, public health, neighbors and our environment pay the cost.

The devastation left in the wake of mountaintop removal provides the most visible evidence that our laws no longer work to protect people and the environment, but it is not the only example.

  • Our groundwater and surface water are being polluted and eliminated.
  • Our homes and communities are damaged by blasting, flooding and subsidence.
  • Our roads crumble under the weight of overloaded coal trucks.
  • Some families have had their land stolen by dishonest coal operators, and other split apart by the tactics of land and mineral companies.
  • And underground and surface miners continue to face unsafe working conditions in difficult jobs. Some die every year in tragic accidents that do not need to occur.

    Among the more egregious failures of state officials is their failure to make coal companies obey water quality laws. This happens both in the permitting process – when they grant permits that don't protect the public – as well enforcement, or the failure to make companies abide by their permit conditions.

    KFTC and allies have taken action, asking the U.S. EPA to take away Kentucky's authority to issue water pollution permits, and filing lawsuits to force coal companies to obey the law.

KFTC members are active in protecting our communities. We believe enforcement is an interactive process between citizens and the appropriate state or federal officials. So we organize, educate, and if necessary litigate to make sure our health, water, air and land are protected by adherence to and enforcement of laws designed to do just that. And since existing laws are inadequate, we continue to push to strengthen those protections.

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