(02/20/2010)
Pittsburgh-based Consol Energy's Fola Coal operations in Clay County will keep 300 workers, while 157 will be put out of work.

The changes start Monday.

Nicholas J. Deluliis, Consol's executive vice president said, "We have a plan and our tonnages have been sold, but in an effort to manage out stockpiles and to balance coal production with expected customer demand and shipping schedules, we are faced with making adjustments which, unfortunately, will impact a portion of our workforce."

The company had warned in December it might lay off 378 workers at Ike's Fork and another 104 at a related underground mine operated by Consol's Little Eagle Coal Co.

The company had gotten into trouble by-passing Clean Water Act regulations.

The potential layoffs brought outcries from the coal industry and state political leaders, including Gov. Joe Manchin.

Consol said the potential layoffs resulted because of "repeated assault from nuisance lawsuits and appeals of environmental regulations."

The US Army Corps had approved the company's proposal to bury more than six miles of streams with waste rock and dirt from its mining operations without hearings and a proper mitigation plan.

Environmentalists and many scientists believe coal company mitigation efforts have not been shown to work, and don't properly compensate for the ecological damage from burying miles of headwater streams.


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