Kentucky officials seek fines for Justice coal companies

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky regulators say West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice's family coal companies are breaching their environmental responsibilities. It's prompting a continuing court battle that could lead to the companies paying millions in fines.

The court battle is over a 2014 agreement Justice made with the state to restore the environment at some eastern Kentucky mines.

The restoration isn't done, and Kentucky officials are arguing in court that the Justice companies cannot be trusted to fulfill its obligations. They are asking a judge to force the companies to pay the rest of a $4.5 million fine after it was reduced to $1.5 million in the agreement.

Lawyers for the Justice companies say there has been significant progress on the restoration work and that state regulators "have an agenda to bring down the Justice companies."

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