Patriot Coal Announces Suit Settlement , Ends Mountaintop Removal

From Press Release
Patriot Coal Corporation announced that it has reached a proposed settlement agreement with the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Inc., the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Inc. and the Sierra Club regarding claims under the Clean Water Act relating to surface mining activities in West Virginia.

As a result of the proposed settlement, the deadline for compliance with selenium effluent limitations at outfalls under the Hobet 22 permit will be extended from May 2013 until August 2014.  Additionally, compliance schedules under the global consent decree announced in January 2012 will be extended by 12 months.  In exchange, Patriot will agree to certain restrictions on large-scale surface mining activities.

"This settlement agreement allows Patriot to defer up to $27 million of compliance-related cash outlays from 2012 and 2013 into 2014 and beyond, which improves our liquidity as we reorganize our company and increases the likelihood that we will emerge from the Chapter 11 process as a viable business," stated Patriot President & Chief Executive Officer Bennett K. Hatfield.  "Importantly, this proposed settlement allows Patriot to continue mining according to existing permits and is consistent with our long-term business plan to focus capital on expanding higher-margin metallurgical coal production and limiting thermal coal investments to selective opportunities where geologic and regulatory risks are minimized." 

The settlement remains subject to approval by the Federal District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia following a public comment period, as well as approval by the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

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