(07/24/2002)
A Massey Energy mine in Mingo county has been ordered closed by the West Virginia DEP after the company "willfully" released 20,000 gallons of mine waste into a Mingo creek and lake over the weekend.

Officials concluded the release was "planned and intentional."

The DEP has ordered the clean-up of Laurel Creek and Laurel Creek Lake before mining operations can continue.

In another incident last week, waste spilled from a Massey "impoundment" in Logan County, after the company had been warned on May 14 that valley fill from mountain removal had clogged the creek and "liquefied."

The report, like dozens of others in recent years, warned Massey "Future rains will possibly cause water quality problems." The build-up (see earlier Charleston Gazette photo on The Hur Herald) broke loose and damaged roadways and destroyed homes down Winding Shoals Valley.

Mountaintop removal, with its resulting "valley fill" has filled about 500 miles of streams in the area, in what has become a routine practice.

CEO Don Blankenship of Massey Energy criticized Gov. Bob Wise, who supported the coal industries effort to increase weight limits on coal trucks. He said "Bob Wise use to work for the UMW and Mike Caputo is still causing problems for coal trucks." Wise apparently didn't try hard enough to increase coal weight limits, according to CEO Blankenship, who reportedly earns up to $15 million annually.

Higher limits were barely defeated in a special session of the Legislature last week. Some legislators said they had not been adequately educated by Governor Wise, although it has been on the front burner for months, more recently with a select committee to study the issue for much of the summer.

Blankenship's attorney is unhappy about media coverage.

Blankenship, since the defeat on 120,000 ton coal trucks, is threatening to move Massey's coal operations to eastern Kentucky.


Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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