The state Supreme Court this week issued a 4-1 ruling allowing the Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation to have its long-awaited day in court.
ACT claims the DOH gave Alpha subsidiary Nicewonder Contracting an illegal, no-bid contract for a 14-mile section of the southern coalfields project. It contends that let Alpha pay workers less than federal law requires.
The Charleston Daily Mail says the court didn’t address the merit of those accusations but did allow the case to proceed. The ruling lays out a three-part test on when groups like ACT can sue on behalf of their members.
The DOH declined comment on the ruling, while Alpha didn’t immediately respond.
The 100-mile highway would eventually run from Williamson to Bluefield. So far, though, less than 1 mile is open.
In 2009, 20 families along Mingo County’s Pigeon Creek sued Alpha, Nicewonder and two other Alpha subsidiaries, Flame Energy and Cobra Natural Resources, over construction of the highway.
They argued the strip mining that helped create material for the project contributed to devastating spring floods.
In that case, Alpha denied any wrongdoing and called it ‘‘a natural disaster caused by exceedingly high rainfalls and ground saturation.’’
Information from: Charleston Daily Mail, http://www.dailymail.com