Arch Coal Mountain Top Removal 2012
|Company||Arch Coal Inc.|
|Filer||Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment|
|Sector||Mining & Resources|
|Subject(s)||Coal; Community Impacts; Mountaintop Removal; Water Pollution|
|Resolved Clause Summary||Mountain top removal impacts|
|Supporting Memo||Download PDF|
WHEREAS: In its 2009-2010 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, Arch Coal stated that “[i]n 2009 and 2010, Arch delivered its best environmental compliance years on record.” and that it “adhere[s] to the requirements of the Clean Water Act ... at all levels of our operations.” However, Arch recently incurred considerable legal liability and economic loss due to water pollution associated with its Appalachian mining, including mountaintop mining.
In 2011, Arch agreed to pay $6 million to settle suits brought by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the states of West Virginia and Kentucky, and by conservation organizations, for water pollution violations at several of Arch’s Appalachian mines. The violations included selenium discharges over twice the allowable limits and discharges of aluminum and total suspended solids at concentrations over 20 times above allowable limits. In late 2010, International Coal Group (ICG), Inc., recently acquired by Arch, agreed to pay a total of $752,450 to settle two cases alleging water pollution violations at Appalachian surface mines.
In January 2011, EPA vetoed the Clean Water Act permit for Arch’s 2,300-acre Spruce No. 1 Mine in West Virginia because the mountaintop mining would bury 6.6 miles of high-quality headwater streams, causing “unacceptable adverse effects on wildlife.”
Mountaintop mining, which involves depositing rock and soil in valleys, frequently burying streams, “causes permanent loss of ecosystems that play critical roles in ecological processes such as nutrient cycling and production of organic matter for downstream food webs.”(Science 327:148, 2010). Streams affected by mountaintop mining contain pollutants in concentrations dangerous to fish, birds, and humans. Mountaintop mining increases the frequency and intensity of flooding and the amount of runoff.
Mountaintop mining communities have increased rates of birth defects, cardiovascular disease mortality, and self-reported cancer, as well as an overall reduction in health-related quality of life.
Having recognized the significant environmental concerns and increasing regulatory scrutiny associated with mountaintop mining, several major U.S. and European banks have decided to cease financing companies whose primary coal extractions method is mountaintop mining.
In its 2009-2010 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, Arch Coal used Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines to report its environmental impacts. However, the information Arch presented was partial and not verified by GRI.
RESOLVED: Shareholders request a report, prepared at reasonable cost within six months after the 2012 annual meeting, omitting confidential information, on the company’s efforts to reduce environmental and health hazards associated with its Appalachian mining operations, and how those efforts may reduce legal, reputational and other risks to the company’s finances. The report should include complete, detailed information for these GRI performance indicators:
• Total water withdrawal by source.
• Water sources significantly affected by withdrawal of water.
• Percentage and total volume of water recycled and reused.
• Total water discharge by quality and destination.
• Total weight of waste by type and disposal method.
• Identity, size, protected status, and biodiversity value of water bodies and related habitats significantly affected by the reporting organization’s discharges of water and runoff.