Monday, September 24, 2007

Arch Coal Subsidiary Sued Over Damaged House

Arch Coal Subsidiary Sued Over Damaged House

September 23, 2007

Arch Coal subsidiary sued over damaged house
Lawsuit cites explosions at Logan mine

By Paul J. NydenStaff writer

A subsidiary of Arch Coal Inc. has damaged the house of a Logan County family and surrounding properties, according to a lawsuit filed Friday.The lawsuit, filed by lawyer Truman Chafin, alleges that mining activities at one of the Logan County mines owned by Coal-Mac Inc. has damaged the house of Rusty and Sandy Maynard and their family.Coal-Mac began strip-mining operations near the Maynard family’s newly built house on Cow Creek in August 2006, according to the lawsuit.From winter 2006 through summer 2007, the lawsuit alleges, Coal-Mac daily “engaged in blasting in its mining operations by setting off charges of dynamite or other highly-dangerous explosives ... in disregard of state laws, rules and regulations.”Those explosions, the lawsuit alleges, caused the Maynard house “to vibrate violently” and caused “serious damage to their home including numerous cracks in the foundation and in the walls.”Today, the family home has become uninhabitable, according to the lawsuit.A telephone call to Kim Link, an Arch Coal spokeswoman in St. Louis, was not returned on Friday or Saturday.Explosions from Coal-Mac mining operations also sprayed “fly rock, dust and other particles” on the house and property of Rusty and Sandy Maynard, who “are now afraid to live in their home and fear for their physical safety,” the lawsuit states.In recent months, representatives from Arch Coal apologized to the Maynards and promised “to take corrective and remedial actions,” but those actions were never taken, according to the lawsuit.In their lawsuit, the Maynards ask for an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages.The lawsuit also asks the court to issue “an order of cessation,” prohibiting Coal-Mac from “setting off charges of dynamite and other highly-charged explosives” near the Maynard house in the future.Attached to the lawsuit are copies of six violations issued against Coal-Mac by West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection inspectors.An Aug. 21 citation stated that mine explosions were set off illegally within 1,000 feet of “protected structures” without filing a “specific blast plan,” as required by state law.An Aug. 29 citation stated that the blasting “is creating an imminent danger to the health or safety of the public” and/or might “cause significant, imminent harm to the environment.” That citation ordered Coal-Mac to halt all drilling and blasting operations in the vicinity of the Maynard house.To contact staff writer Paul J. Nyden, use e-mail or call 348-5164.

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