The West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection (DEP) presented Arch Coal subsidiary Coal-Mac with the Greenlands Award for overall outstanding environmental performance and achievement in reclamation.
It is the sixth time in ten years that an Arch subsidiary has won the honor, the company said.
Coal-Mac earned a second reclamation honor, the South Surface Award, for post-mining land use on its Phoenix surface mine. The reclaimed land is now used for commercial farming, cattle ranching and horse grazing.
The company also won several awards for worker safety.
On January 13 the EPA said it is revoking a water permit for the Arch’s Spruce No. 1 mountaintop removal mine in Logan County, West Virginia because it would pollute water, harm wildlife and hurt Appalachian communities. Arch had planned to invest $250 million in Spruce No. 1, creating 250 jobs, but the mine has been delayed by lawsuits since it was permitted in 2007.
Mining already underway at a small portion of the Spruce site won’t be affected by the EPA ruling.
A bill introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from retroactively vetoing water permits as it did in the Arch Coal case. The bill, which was introduced with bipartisan support, also aims to reverse that permit veto.
In the past five years, Coal-Mac has received a dozen national and state awards for environmental excellence, including a Department of Interior 2010 National Award for excellence in surface mine reclamation, Arch Coal said.