State court rules Gov. Jim Justice’s firms didn’t soil water

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – The West Virginia Supreme Court says two of Gov. Jim Justice’s coal companies weren’t responsible for contaminating the wells of more than a dozen families.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the court Thursday upheld a 2016 ruling by a Wyoming County circuit judge. The families’ appeal said there was jury interference, witness intimidation and undisclosed jury connections to Dynamic Energy Inc. and Mechel Bluestone Inc., among other issues.

In 2014, 16 families sued the companies, alleging the Coal Mountain surface mining operation contaminated their well water with arsenic and lead. The families showed the water was contaminated but couldn’t prove the companies caused it.

The justice left it up to the lower court whether to proceed on an earlier ruling that Dynamic Energy had violated an order to provide replacement water.

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