By Erica Kearns

U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers ruled this week on the case filed by Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition against Fola Coal Co. over selenium pollution from the company’s strip-mining operations in Clay County. Chambers ruled that all water pollution permits were required to comply with state water quality standards, curbing mine selenium discharges. Selenium in naturally found in the environment but can be toxic in large doses. In parts of West Virginia, selenium discharge from mountaintop removal operations have shown deformed fish and decreased fish populations. Fola Coal violated the selenium water quality standards on multiple occasions between 2008 and 2012 at areas including Leatherwood Creek, Cannel Coal Hollow, Right Fork, Cannel Coal Point Removal and Cannel Coal Surface Mine.