We believe that every Kentuckian has a right to clean air, water and land. We also have the right to defend these rights in our democratic society and to expect diligent oversight and enforcement protection from local, state and federal officialscharged with these responsibilities. Sadly, too often it is necessary to seek a fair and just redress of our grievances in courts of law because of failures of corporations to follow the law and failures of officials to enforce the law.
Litigation supports KFTC’s organizing goals regarding enforcement and works to stop and punish illegal mining practices that endanger people and the quality of our environment. Therefore, the goals are to publicize, stop and punish polluting industries for violations of the federal and state statutes – and prevent future violations. Another goal is to change the culture of non-enforcement in some state government agencies. Litigation puts pressure on these agency officials to do their jobs in the public interest and not as “business as usual” of protecting corporate interests rather than protecting citizens’ interests.
In addition, exercising our rights to use our justice system and winning cases also provides opportunities to inform and empower citizens, especially those living in coal-impacted communities. It allows citizens to become more involved in the monitoring, prevention and enforcement processes. These victories make organizing around issues of clean water and enforcement stronger so that we may strengthen existing chapters and grow new ones. Finally, successful litigation also supports our efforts to pass critical legislation and is the initial means for the transition to clean energy alternatives to coal.
Citizen Enforcement Efforts
"The Clean Water Act allows citizens to bring polluters into court when government officials choose to look the other way. Our state officials have closed their eyes to an obviously serious problem. We intend to do what our government officials won’t – that is, enforce the law and put an end to these practices."
KFTC Litigation Team
Clean Water Act enforcement vs. International Coal Group (ICG) and Frasure Creek Mining – KFTC and allies claimed thousands of violations of pollution standards and reporting requirements. There are actions in state and federal court, as well as in administrative proceedings.
Clean Water Act enforcement vs. Nally & Hamilton – KFTC and allies claimed thousands of violations of pollution standards and reporting requirements. There are actions in state and federal court.
Coal ash standards vs. the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – the federal agency has delayed for too long the release of standards to protect the public from exposure to toxic coal ash.
Supporting limits on selenium pollution –
Conductivity standard – when the National Mining Association and Kentucky's governor, among others, challenged EPA's right to set an in-stream conductivity standard for controlling coal pollution, KFTC joined others in intevening on the side of the EPA.
A credible water pollution control program – because state officials have done such a poor job enforcing the Clean Water Act, KFTC and others asked the U.S. EPA to take away Kentucky's authority to operate the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting program.