West Virginia Mining Company Reaches Settlement Over Contamination

(September 3, 2011) A mining company in West Virginia – Massey Energy – recently settled a 7-year-old lawsuit with hundreds of citizens who claim their drinking water was contaminated with coal slurry.

As is the case in most settlements, the details will not be released to the public, but Massey is still sticking to their story of full innocence. This news comes as relief to all involved, as a new panel of judges was set to prepare for a new trial at the beginning of last month.

Donetta Blankership – a Rawl, West Virginia resident – would have been one of the first cases tried in this averted trial. She claims that Massey’s actions caused life-threatening liver problems in 2005 and 2006. With the thanks of medical treatment and a different source of water, she says she is finally feeling healthy.

Over 700 people have sued Massey and one of its subsidiaries with similar contamination claims, amassing over 1.4 billion gallons of this toxic slurry into their underground mines between the years 1978 and 1987.

This slurry-injection method has been in use by coal companies for decades as a cheap alternative to clean the coal so it burns more efficiently. But at what cost is a “cheap alternative?”

These companies know the risk involved when they make these actions. Would they drink water knowing it contains coal slurry? I will refrain from answering that, as most rhetorical questions are best left unanswered. However, we can assume this answer is no. So why didn’t this deter them? This isn’t right!

It’s impossible to get an exact amount of these mining sites that are used for coal slurry. But this settlement agreement comes at least as a small victory for those affected; and even for those not affected, knowing they can live life in a safer manner.

If your health has been altered because of coal slurry contamination, you may be entitled to compensation. Please stop by our website, or contact one of our attorneys at 1-800-246-4878 for more information.

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