After years of debate, court cases, studies, corrections and attacks against environmental groups, a national study released yesterday declares a major problem in West Virginia.

The Mount Storm power plant in Tucker County, located in one of the state's most pristine mountain areas, emits more arsenic and chromium pollution than any other such plant in the USA.

The plant ranks second in the nation in the amount of lead emitted by its smoke stacks, according to a study conducted by the Clean Air Task Force, the National Environmental Trust and the US Public Interest Research Group.

The organizations assert that those three pollutants -- and as many as 60 others -- would be unregulated under a new rule proposed by the Bush administration to regulate mercury emissions.

The environmental groups believe that the coal industry and the electric utility industry have written much of the new rules.

In May, the EPA's inspector general launched an investigation into whether the businesses exerted "undue influence" over the content of the rule.

Environment groups maintain that government regulatory groups have been made up of industry executives, excluding voices for a better environment.