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Jim Justice son coal companies sued by Justice Department

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice.

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The Division of Justice on Wednesday accused the son of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and 13 coal corporations the youthful Justice owns or operates of failing to pay tens of millions of {dollars} in penalties for environmental violations.

Jay Justice, the governor’s son, and people corporations below his management have been cited for over 130 violations and owe greater than $5 million in civil penalties, amongst different unpaid charges, the DOJ alleged in a civil criticism.

“Our environmental legal guidelines serve to guard communities towards hostile results of commercial actions together with floor coal mining operations,” Assistant Legal professional Normal Todd Kim of the DOJ’s Setting and Pure Assets Division mentioned in a press launch.

“Via this go well with, the Justice Division seeks to ship accountability for defendants’ repeated violations of the regulation and to recuperate the penalties they owe on account of these violations,” Kim mentioned.

The elder Justice, who’s reportedly the richest particular person in West Virginia, has been accused of meddling in his household enterprise empire as governor even after vowing to separate himself from the businesses upon taking workplace. These companies have additionally confronted accusations of not paying their payments.

The Republican governor final month launched his marketing campaign for the Senate seat held by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. Justice’s marketing campaign insists that the governor doesn’t run the household corporations.

Manchin, who may face an uphill battle to reelection within the deep-red state regardless of his incumbent standing, has not mentioned if he plans to run for once more in 2024.

A spokesman for Justice’s Senate marketing campaign didn’t instantly reply to CNBC’s request for remark.

In an announcement, Nationwide Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Tate Mitchell mentioned, “Joe Biden’s Division of Justice has gone completely rogue. Democrats weaponizing the federal authorities to assault the household of a Republican Senate candidate is an entire abuse of energy.”

The DOJ’s 128-page criticism towards Jay Justice and his corporations covers violations stretching over 5 years, starting in 2018.

The lawsuit notes that the Workplace of Floor Mining Reclamation and Enforcement issued greater than 100 violations and 50 cessation orders to simply three of these corporations from 2018 to 2022. The allegations embody failing to take care of the face of a dam and guarantee its “seismic stability,” failing to clear rubble from a haul street after a rock fall and failing to “correctly get rid of non-coal waste,” amongst others, in line with the criticism.

These violations “pose well being and security dangers or threaten environmental hurt,” the DOJ wrote.

A lawyer for the Justices’ companies didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

The Wall Road Journal reported in March that Jim Justice was trying to promote the coal companies.