Massey Energy Co., the nation’s fourth-largest coal producer, has agreed to a $30 million settlement with the U.S. EPA over allegations of Clean Water Act violations. Massey was accused of polluting streams and waterways in West Virginia and Kentucky with the detritus of mountaintop-removal mining on at least 4,500 occasions between 2000 and 2006. The company must pay $20 million in civil penalties and invest $10 million in pollution control at its 44 coal mines and processing facilities. “This is a landmark settlement for the environment, and raises the bar for the mining industry,” says Granta Nakayama of the EPA. But to an extent, Massey got off easy — the maximum penalty for its offenses could have been as high as $2.4 billion.

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