Residents sue Sago mine operator, trucking companies for pollution, noise

BUCKHANNON -– Three Upshur County residents have filed suit against the Sago Mine operator and two local trucking companies, citing excessive noise and mining-related pollution have allegedly made life difficult.

One of the petitioners, Thomas W. Bacon, owns over six acres along Sago Road and lives only 200 yards from the Sago mine. The McCoys also live near the mine. Since the opening of the Sago mine in 2000, it is claimed that each of the plaintiffs has been subjugated to white gravel and black coal dust deposits on their properties. The plaintiffs argue that their property values have consequently declined.

In the suit, it is also claimed that the defendants illegally widened Sago Road in 2005, causing water flow onto Bacorn's property, causing extensive damage. The plaintiffs also allege that the trucks traveling between the Sago and Imperial mines travel at unsafe speeds and unnecessarily use "jake" brakes, causing excessive noise.

Bacorn states that employees of the defendants, including the owner of Winjean and H.W.M. Truck Lines, verbally assaulted and intimidated him along Sago Road earlier this year. Bacorn also claims the defendants wrongfully imprisoned him with coal trucks in an effort to intimidate him. The plaintiffs allege the defendants are in violation of the West Virginia Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Act.

Additionally, the plaintiffs seek damages for the potential health risks related to the pollution left behind by the coal mining operations. The hearing for an injunction halting the operations at Sago and Imperial mines will occur Sept. 7. The claimants are demanding a jury trial.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Thomas H. Keadle.

Upshur Circuit Court case number: 06-C-91

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