AP Newsbreak: Massey settles WV coal slurry case

By VICKI SMITH | July 27, 2011 | 10:59 AM EDT

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Mining company Massey Energy and a subsidiary have settled a 7-year-old lawsuit with hundreds of West Virginia residents who say wastewater from coal poisoned their drinking water.

Judge Alan Moats in Charleston told The Associated Press the deal was struck early Wednesday after a mediation session that began Monday. The terms are confidential.

All parties remain under a gag order.

Some 700 people sued Massey and Rawl Sales & Processing over water supplies they say were ruined by 1.4 billion gallons of coal slurry pumped into worked-out underground mines.

Massey was bought this year by Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources.

Moats and Judge Derek Swope had been trying to settle the case as three other judges prepared for a long trial that was set to start Aug. 1.