Coal mining's buried water pollution liabilities

A bout of mine closures is looming over the coal industry as its contracts with the electricity generators come to an end next year. A change in the legal liability for minewater discharges in 1999 may accelerate further closures. The Environment Agency has drawn up a list of 45 discharges from old mines which are causing the most damage, and problems are now beginning to be addressed through costly remediation schemes. But despite the change in the law, liability for minewater discharges is likely to remain contentious.

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