Gas firm to pay $700K for bulldozed W.Va. cemetery

LOGAN, W.Va. (AP) - Gas drillers who plowed through a cemetery near a historically black coal camp community must pay $700,000 in damages.

Attorney Kevin Thompson says a Logan County jury ruled Tuesday that Equitable Production Co. and subcontractor General Pipeline were reckless. That means jurors may also award punitive damages on Wednesday.

Equitable is a subsidiary of Pittsburgh-based EQT. Relatives of people buried in the Crystal Block Cemetery near Sarah Ann sued after General Pipeline bulldozed the cemetery in 2004.

The operator shoved aside head stones and metal markers while building a road to a drilling site.

The subcontractor argued at the time it was an "innocent and unknowing entry," but Thompson said the dozer driver uttered racial slurs when a resident tried to warn him about the graves.

EQT didn't immediately comment.

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