AP Newsbreak: Coal slurry case to cost Massey $35M

By VICKI SMITH | August 9, 2011 | 10:15 AM EDT

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Massey Energy Co. is offering $35 million to settle a lawsuit by hundreds of West Virginia residents who say the mining company poisoned their drinking supplies with wastewater called coal slurry.

The settlement proposed last month is confidential, but The Associated Press obtained a letter to the plaintiffs laying out some details.

It says the $35 million is in addition to $5 million that Massey and a subsidiary, Rawl Sales & Processing, had previously agreed to put into a medical monitoring fund.

Massey is now owned by Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources, which didn't immediately comment Monday.

The letter doesn't say how much the lawyers are seeking. The attorneys refused comment, citing a court-imposed gag order.

A hearing on the settlement and its distribution is set for Sept. 29 in Charleston.