West Virginia Record

Monday, December 9, 2019

98 individuals say Alpha Natural Resources contaminated their water

By Kyla Asbury | Jul 21, 2016

Coal 01

WELCH – Ninety-eight individuals are suing Alpha Natural Resources Services LLC after they claim it contaminated their water with inorganic trace elements.

Massey Energy Company; A.T. Massey Coal Co.; Elk Run Coal Company Inc.; Independent Coal Co.; Omar Mining Co.; Peabody Energy Corporation; Heritage Coal Company LLC; ERP Compliant Fuels LLC; Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund; Patriot Coal Corporation; and Pine Ridge Coal Company were also named as defendants in the suit.

The 98 plaintiffs claim the defendants have owned and operated and/or continue to own and operate surface and underground coal mines and processing facilities in and around Seth and Prenter in Boone County and have maintained and/or are currently maintaining, impoundments and/or injecting coal slurry into the ground in and around Boone County, according to a complaint filed June 29 in McDowell Circuit Court.

The plaintiffs claim the defendants have conducted, or are currently conducting, mining and blasting operations in and around the injection sites and/or impoundments and the sites have disturbed and destabilized the various strata overlaying the aquifers and have contaminated aquifers, which supply water to the wells from which the residents of Boone County drew water for drinking and household purposes.

The defendants’ contamination of the water and destabilization of the various strata combined with the impoundments and injection well operations created an exposure pathway from the defendants’ mining operations to the plaintiffs’ water supply, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim independent scientific testing of the Boone County area water supply shows the presence of toxic substances, including iron, barium, selenium, chromium, arsenic, manganese, lead and other inorganic trace elements.

The defendants have caused an invasion of inorganic elements in the plaintiffs’ property, ground water, surface water and well water, as well as the invasion of hydrogen sulfide gas in the air, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are being represented by R. Dean Hartley, Michael R. Staun and J. Michael Prascik of Hartley & O’Brien; and Trent A. Redman and Michael D. Payne of Redman & Payne PLLC.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Jonathan M. Adkins; Richard G. Adkins; Jamie Barker; Areline Bassham; Michael Bateman; Harry L. Bowe and Carolyn F. Bowe; Stewart Bowe; Joetta Bowling; Pamela Buffington; Jeremy Buffington; Harold Coleman and Susie Coleman; Frank Cooper and Tiffany L. Cooper; Annie Mae Davis; Jacob Dillon; Carol Dodrill; Royce Dodrill; Brian L. Doss and Loraina Doss; Frederick Doss; Kiley Doss; Sallie Dunlap; Robert Eskins and April Eskins; Carrie Ann Estep; Debbie Estep; Kimberly Frye; Natasha Green; Tony Green; Roy Hager; Rebecca Sue Halstead; Kaitlyn Halstead; Paul Hanson and Vickie L. Hanson; Cody Hill; Michael D. Hill; Robert Hoops and Pamela Hoops; Jeffrey D. Howerton and Rachel A. Howerton; Zacharias Troy William Howerton; Woodrow Jackson; Trish Kimble Johnson; Robert Lee Kersey; Donald Kimble and Nova Kimble; Tabatha Kimble; Orbie Lucas and Lori Lucas; Nicholas J. McKnight; Connie Z. McNeely-Santonio; Casey Moore; Kala Moore; Lisa M. Muller; Angela Peters; Anthony Peters and Stacy Peters; Ruby Peters; Ernest Lee Runion; Ralph R. Runion and Tammy Michele Runion; Rodney G. Runion; Virginia Mae Runion; Anthony Sauls; Christina Sauls; Jay Sauls; Sean Sauls; Daniel Lee Shamblin; Caitlyn Skeens; Damian Skeens; Lee R. Skeens Jr. and Angela Skeens; Tammy Santonio Smith; Kelly Stephens and Sue M. Stephens; Howard Stiltner Sr. and Ilean Stiltner; Michael Stiltner; Jonathan Tawney; Bobby Joe Thomas II; Thomas R. Townley and Gloria F. Townley; Benny Williams; Earl D. Williams and Alberta Williams; Ricky A. Williams and Diana Sue Williams; Jeremy T. Williams; Jerry A. Williams; Savannah Williams; Debbie Wilson; James Withrow and Trina Withrow; and Edward C. Yeager and Kimberly Yeager.

McDowell Circuit Court case number: 16-C-72

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Organizations in this Story

Hartley & O'Brien, PLLCAlpha Natural ResourcesPeabody EnergyHartley and O'Brien P.L.L.C.Massey Energy CompanyThe Law Offices of Redman & Payne PLLC