$26.5MM Suit After Black Mountain Boulder Kills Toddler

The Washington Post reports Dennis and Cindy Davidson have filed a $26.5MM suit against the mining operators after a boulder fell from Black Mountain and killed their toddler Jeremy in their home in Appalachia, Virginia. The article there is increasing resistance to strip mining which had been the live blood of the region. Now more than one in four of Appalachia’s residents lives below the poverty line. The accident occured at 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 19, 2004, when an employee from A&G Coal Company was widening a road at Strip Number 13 pushed soil over a berm prompting the microwave size rock to fall 649 feet down the mountain. The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy fined A&G $15,000 (the maximum $5,000 penalty for three violations — negligence for doing the work at night above occupied dwellings and using an inexperienced bulldozer operator working without adequate lighting. The Department that the maximum fines be increased to $70,000 for each incident. The Davidsons would like this to be called “Jeremy’s Law.” Coal produces more than half the electricity generated in the United States. More coal-fired power plants have been announced in the last 12 months than in the previous 12 years, according to the National Mining Association.
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Update January 11, 2005
Mark S. in the forum notes that Penn-Virginia, owners of the Black Mountain highpoint, owns the mineral rights for the mine in question is part of the suit.