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16 Families File Supreme Court Appeal in Water Contamination Case

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Clear Fork, W.Va

Attorneys for 16 Wyoming County families who accused a coal company of contaminating their water asked the state’s highest court Wednesday, Jan. 24, for another chance to prove their case.

In 2016, a jury found that Dynamic Energy was not responsible for the pollutants the families said they found in Clear Fork along Cedar Creek Road, about a half-hour northwest of Pineville. The West Virginia Supreme Court will consider the appeal and decide later this year whether to allow another civil trial. Ten more families are expected to join the suit if it’s allowed to proceed.

The residents maintain that Dynamic Energy, a subsidiary of Mechel Bluestone Inc. and owned by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, violated state law and damaged wells. The state Department of Environmental Protection testified in the 2016 trial, though, that there was no link between the wells and a nearby surface mine.

In the meantime, the families are grappling with a more pressing issue: Since April 2015, Dynamic Energy has provided them water, under a court order that remains in place. But defense attorneys told the justices Wednesday that Dynamic stopped delivering water in early January because the company said it could no longer afford to pay for it.

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