Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Martin Coal pays to replace 2 million fish

        INEZ, Ky. — Martin County Coal has paid $225,000 to replace an estimated 2 million fish killed in last year's coal slurry spill, state wildlife officials said Monday.

        But there's still too much of the sludge-like slurry on the affected creek and river bottoms to allow restocking, said Ted Crowell, assistant director of fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

        “Despite what you read in the newspapers, the place is not cleaned up,” Mr. Crowell said. “Until the recent dry spell, every time we had a decent rain, the water turned black again.”

        Restocking now could risk killing the reintroduced fish, he said. The state will hold on to the settlement money until it's safe to restock the fish. That could take years, he said.

        The settlement with Martin County Coal covers the estimated 1.6 million fish killed on the Big Sandy River.


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