A US judge has reduced a federal fine imposed on Martin County Coal Corp. by 90 per cent, whose waste pond leaked 306 million gallons of coal sludge into eastern Kentucky waterways in 2000. Martin County Coal Corp. originally faced fines of US$55,000 imposed by the U.S. Department of Labor for the spill. However, Irwin Schroeder, an administrative law judge with the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission cut the fine to US$5,500 saying the company did not show "wanton or reckless disregard for the risks to life and property."

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