To avoid defending itself in a lawsuit by Oceana and West Virginia Rivers Coalition, PPG Industries, the largest emitter of mercury pollution to West Virginia’s waterways, has convinced the state Department of Environmental Protection to sue the company, The Charleston Gazette reports.
Yes, you read that correctly. Just as we were preparing to file a lawsuit targeting PPG for repeatedly exceeding its legal limit for discharges of mercury into the Ohio River, West Virginia officials sued the company. This came right before the end of the 60 day period we were required to wait after filing our intent to sue. Check out this excerpt from the article:
Late last week, Department of Environmental Protection lawyers sued PPG in circuit court. DEP lawyers asked for an injunction to stop the violations, and for an order requiring PPG to pay the state’s legal costs. But DEP Secretary Randy Huffman says the state suit was filed at PPG’s request. The company wanted to avoid defending itself against a suit by two environmental groups, Huffman said. So PPG provided a “plan of action” that DEP and the company believe will eventually be turned into a lawsuit settlement.DEP’s lawsuit is the latest in a long series of actions by state officials to help PPG, including four instances in the last 20 years in which DEP backed off tougher water quality limits for the Marshall County plant.
This comes right after other news about WV DEP’s actions on mercury.
[Beth Kemler is Oceana’s Seafood Campaign Organizer.]