The Illinois Pollution Control board has found that the owners of a coal mine near Industry violated their permits for the disposal of waste water into nearby streams over 600 times.
In Illinois, mines are required to monitor their own emissions to ensure they are within the limits set by their permits. It was those records the Environmental Law and Policy Center reviewed to discover the violations.
After the ELAP, the Sierra Club and the Prairie Rivers Network notified the state they would sue, the state launched its own suit.
Jessica Dexter is an attorney for the ELAP. She said the Illinois EPA discovered violation years ago but after notifying the company of the violation it did not file its own law suit.
"I think that it was important for our groups to get involved in order to to get the ball rolling on an enforcement action on this case that had been persisting for several years without any action," said Dexter.
After the state filed it's suit, the ELAP won the right to be included as a plaintiff as well.
Dexter added, "We were able to do a more thorough a review of the record to find 624 violations of the permit where the state only came up with 381."
The current owners of the mine, Springfield Coal, and the mine's previous owner, Freeman United Coal Company, could face a maximum of over 64 million dollars in fines.
The environmental groups are urging for the maximum amounts to be levied, citing the fact that Springfield is currently looking to open more mines in the state.