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Record fine proposed for coal mining operations

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is proposing a record fine for thousands of water pollution violations by coal mine operators in five Appalachian states.

Alpha Natural Resources Inc., the nation’s third-largest coal supplier, will pay a $27.5 million fine and spend $200 million to reduce illegal toxic discharges from 79 mines and 25 coal processing facilities in West Virginia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Kentucky.

The deal was filed in federal court Wednesday. It comes after a series of coal-related spills in West Virginia and North Carolina have raised questions about whether state and federal environmental officials are doing enough to curb water pollution from companies mining, processing, transporting and burning coal.

Advocacy groups said environmental officials should do more to prevent pollution from entering waterways.

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