Conservationists say Kentucky regulators rubber-stamped the utility’s own plans, (Big Rivers Electric Corporation) insulated it from citizen’s lawsuits and neglected to assess the complete environmental impact of the pollution.

“To me that’s the bigger story, it’s not whether there’s a nominal fine or not. It’s the fact that there’s no indication the company is being required to do a full accounting for what the impacts are of this pollution or fully address the pollution at its source,” said Thom Cmar, an attorney with Earthjustice, an environmental advocacy non-profit.

But the agreed order doesn’t require Big Rivers to assess groundwater impacts. “If it’s in those seeps it’s also getting into the groundwater in other ways and a much larger survey of the site needs to be done to determine what the full scope of the problem is and what the impacts are,” Cmar said.  Read more.