How states are reacting to mining bankruptcies

Concerned citizen groups across the country have banded together to ensure bankrupt coal companies clean up their idle coal mines.

These conservation advocates allege several mining sites formerly operated by bankrupt coal firms have become serious environmental liabilities and are at risk of not being cleaned up, according to court documents.

The groups represent several communities across the country living in the backyards of some former coal mines. They fear these shut mining sites are at risk of abandonment under proposed plans to exit bankruptcy. In documents filed, they demanded clarification of the plans for cleaning up the remaining mine sites, and provided notice they would exercise their rights to hold the company accountable under federal environmental laws.

Unfulfilled cleanup obligations at mine sites out east may seem far away from most people. But the outcome of mining companies going through bankruptcy could be a harbinger of what’s to come in the leading coal states, if answers aren’t developed soon.