Update: Judge seeks more information in spill-related case

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - UPDATE 4/11/16 11:43 AM

A judge says he wants more information before he'll approve a class-action settlement stemming from a 2014 chemical spill in West Virginia that contaminated drinking water supplies.

The case involves Kanawha Valley residents and businesses and two former top officials from Freedom Industries.

U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver told lawyers in the case Friday that he wants more details about the finances of one of the former Freedom officials - longtime company co-owner Dennis Farrell.

The judge also wants more details about whether Farrell and former Freedom President Gary Southern remain targeted in any other lawsuits that also could be settled.

The judge told the attorneys to get back to him about those matters by May 13.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


The Kanawha County Commission and city of Charleston have filed a lawsuit against several companies over the 2014 Elk River chemical spill.

Local news media report that the lawsuit against West Virginia American Water, Eastman Chemical Company and others was filed last week in the Kanawha County Circuit Court.

The lawsuit is seeking costs and expenses resulting from the activation of the Kanawha County Emergency Operations Center, among other things. Commissioner Dave Hardy says the county "has an obligation to the public to seek to recover all costs relating to the water crisis."

The spill in January 2014 spurred a tap-water ban for 300,000 people for days.

A West Virginia American Water spokeswoman declined to comment. An Eastman Chemical Company official didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


A former environmental consultant at Freedom Industries is due in court for sentencing in a 2014 chemical spill that fouled the drinking water supply of 300,000 West Virginians.

Robert Reynolds is the first of six ex-Freedom officials to be sentenced this month on pollution charges. He is set to appear Monday afternoon in federal court in Charleston.

Former plant manager Michael Burdette is set to be sentenced Wednesday. Each man faces up to a year in prison and a minimum $2,500 fine.

The spill of thousands of gallons of the coal-cleaning agent MCHM into the Elk River in January 2014 prompted officials to tell residents in nine counties not to use their tap water for up to 10 days.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)



 
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