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W.Va. descendants sue Alpha over cemetery damage

Thursday - 8/29/2013, 5:32pm  ET

Associated Press

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- Six southern West Virginia residents are suing Alpha Natural Resources to stop further damage to a family cemetery surrounded by a mountaintop- removal mining operation.

They sued Virginia-based Alpha and its Independence Coal subsidiary in Boone County Circuit Court after discovering activity at the Twilight Surface Mine has come within 30 feet of graves in Jarrell Cemetery.

But Alpha spokesman Ted Pile says the lawsuit has no merit, and allegations that Alpha has "willfully and maliciously" violated a 100-foot buffer zone are false. He says it's also untrue workers toppled headstones and desecrated graves.

He says Alpha has gone "above and beyond" to protect both the cemetery and the relatives' access to it.

The lawsuit seeks both compensatory damages for cemetery repairs and punitive damages.

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