Justice Department SUES son of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice to collect $5 million in


The Justice Department on Wednesday sued the son of West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice, with a filing that said his 13 mining companies under his control ‘violated their legal obligations’ by failing to pay penalties and fines.

The civil legal action comes as Justice’s father mounts a Senate campaign against West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, one of the most influential members of the chamber who provided critical support to President Joe Biden‘s Inflation Reduction Act.

The elder Justice has been reported to be the richest person in West Virginia.

According to the 128 page filing, Justice’s mining companies ‘failed to pay uncontested penalties assessed for their uncontested violations,’ after having been cited with more than 130 violations totaling $5 million in civil penalties by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement at the U.S. Interior Department.

DOJ made the filing in U.S. District Court in the western district of Virginia. 

The DOJ is suing the son of West Virginia Governor Jim Justice over unpaid fines at mining companies he controls. Justice is running for Senate against Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)

The DOJ is suing the son of West Virginia Governor Jim Justice over unpaid fines at mining companies he controls. Justice is running for Senate against Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)

The suit comes at a delicate time. Gov. Justice leads Manchin by 22-points, 54 to 32 per cent, in a new poll for the West Virginia Senate race, according to a East Carolina University Center for Survey Research poll released just Tuesday.

‘Our environmental laws serve to protect communities against adverse effects of industrial activities including surface coal mining operations,’ said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division in a statement. ‘Through this suit, the Justice Department seeks to deliver accountability for defendants’ repeated violations of the law and to recover the penalties they owe as a result of those violations.’ 

Manchin was already considered vulnerable simply by seeking reelection as a Democrat in a Republican-dominated state.

He is banking on his reputation for independence, after crossing the Biden administration on key regulatory initiatives and engaging in protracted negotiations but ultimately backing his Inflation Reduction Act.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee issued a statement saying the lawsuit by Biden’s DOJ is an ‘abuse of power.’

‘Joe Biden’s Department of Justice has gone totally rogue. Democrats weaponizing the federal government to attack the family of a Republican Senate candidate is a complete abuse of power,’ said spokesman Tate Mitchell Wednesday.

DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment on any political sensitivities. 

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) faces a challenge from Republican Gov. Jim Justice. The Justice Department is suing Justice and companies controlled by him for fines totaling $5 million. A pipeline pushed by Manchin is included in the budget deal coming to a vote in the House Wednesday

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) faces a challenge from Republican Gov. Jim Justice. The Justice Department is suing Justice and companies controlled by him for fines totaling $5 million. A pipeline pushed by Manchin is included in the budget deal coming to a vote in the House Wednesday

DOJ filed the suit Wednesday in federal court in Virginia

DOJ filed the suit Wednesday in federal court in Virginia

Environmental groups howled after permitting for the Mountain Valley Pipeline showed up in the budget deal

Environmental groups howled after permitting for the Mountain Valley Pipeline showed up in the budget deal

The bipartisan budget deal heading to a House vote Wednesday includes permitting changes long pushed by Manchin. A provision that would require approval of the 300-mile long Mountain Valley Pipeline that would cross part of his state has infuriated environmentalists and some Democratic lawmakers who asked why it ended up in a must-pass budget compromise to reduce spending and extend the debt ceiling. 

Gov. Justice and his son have worked together to manage a sprawling empire.

In 2009, Justice reportedly made a fortune when he sold Bluestone Resources, a collection of mines, to a Russian firm, then had to buy it back later amid claims of mismanagement while under Russian control.

The father and son said in a lawsuit they had the objective of ‘returning Bluestone to profitability,’ Forbes reported.

The 13 Justice-owned or controlled companies are incorporated in Virginia, West Virginia, and Delaware.

The suit doesn’t make any mention of the elder Justice’s political role, describing James C. Justice III ‘an individual residing in or around Roanoke, Virginia.’ 

Some of the Justice fines outlined in the suit relate to statements of coal produced per quarter.

The government cited Premium Coal, National Coal, and S+H Mining with more than 100 violations between 2018 and 2022. They included ‘failure to maintain the face of a dam,’ ‘failure to ensure the seismic stability of a dam’ and ‘causing the slope instability by improperly placing spoil against a downslope windrow and exposing timber in the backfill soil.’

It says a series of companies failed to contest fines that the government imposed, and didn’t comply with ‘cessation orders.’ 

Other regulatory failures listed in the suit appear to be measures meant to lessen the environmental impact of coal mining on rivers and streams. They include ‘failure to maintain sediment control measures,’ ‘failure to remove excess sediment from basins,’ ‘unlawful discharges,’ and ‘failure to properly dispose of non-coal waste.’ 

Regulations require operators to submit statements stating how much coal produced in a mining operation, with a reclamation fee imposed on each ton of coal that is produced. The fee is 22.4 centers per don or 10 per cent of the value, whichever is less.   



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