As Germany phases out coal, villages still forced to make way for mining The plaintiffs — who are serving sentences ranging from one year to life imprisonment, and are incarcerated across the United States on charges including firearm and drug possession — argued in the suit that the site had been inadequately tested, that it was likely unsafe, and that the BOP had violated federal environmental laws by failing to notify them before making its decision.
This so-called "valley fill", which can include toxins such as arsenic and selenium, runs "a high risk of contaminating public water supplies," said Alan Lockwood, a neurologist and coal expert with Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Streams and rivers run through many valleys in Appalachia, the mountainous region where Letcher County is located.
Prisons on waste sites The planned prison is not the first to raise environmental concerns.
One 2017 analysis, based on work by cartographer Paige Williams, found that over 130 US prisons lie within 1.6 kilometers (about 1 mile) of a Superfund site, areas with hazardous waste or pollution severe enough to require federal government intervention.