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Family files lawsuit to protect Boone cemetery from mining

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Family members filed a lawsuit Aug. 22 to try to repair and protect the Jarrell Family Cemetery from being damaged from nearby mining in Boone County, according to a news release from the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition.

The family worked with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection along with coal companies to try to get protection under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. The lawsuit was filed in Boone County Circuit Court.

The Twilight Surface Mine complex was once owned by Massey Energy and now is owned by Alpha Natural Resources.

"This mountaintop removal mine forced people away from their beloved town in the hollers of Boone County," Nada Cook-White said in a news release. "This cemetery is some of the only remaining evidence that Lindytown ever existed."

Several family members made official arrangements with Alpha Natural Resources and Independence Coal Company to be allowed access to the cemetery, but after a recent visit, the family decided it needed to sue the company for the damages to the cemetery and access road.

"Our visit was astounding, very emotionally impacting," Danny Cook said in a news release. "The 100-foot cemetery boundary for Jarrell Cemetery has been seriously violated.

"In my opinion, 100 feet isn't far enough to ensure damage is prevented."

The plaintiffs have all agreed that any proceeds that would come from a potential settlement will go into a fund to repair and maintain Jarrell Cemetery.