Massey ordered to pay over slurry spill

A LAWSUIT against Massey Energy subsidiary Martin County Coal over a slurry spill into the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River in October 2000 was settled this week.

Staff Reporter

Dow Jones reported the West Virginia department of Environmental Protection and the state Division of Natural Resources will be reimbursed by Massey for the cost of responding to the spill and the loss of fauna in the river.

The spill occurred when the bottom of Martin County’s coal waste pond collapsed into an abandoned coal mine. The lawsuit was bought against Massey because the DEP claimed the company was negligent for not fixing problems discovered after a smaller spill in 1994, Dow Jones said.

The spill involved more than 250 million gallons of slurry entering creeks and then the river.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration fined the company the legal maximum of $110,000 and in 2002 the company agreed to pay the state of Kentucky US$1.75 million in civil penalties, US$1 million in damages to the environment and US$500,000 for costs incurred by the state in the cleanup, Dow Jones said.