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Judge says Md. owner must certify W.Va. slurry dam

Vicki Smith, Associated Press

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- The operator of a West Virginia coal slurry dam that hasn't been certified by an engineer in two years has until June 3 to get that done and pay the Mine Safety and Health Administration more than $13,000 in fines.

U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey says Energy Marketing Co. and its owner — Potomac, Md., resident Dominick LaRosa — have ignored a federal lawsuit and haven't even hired a lawyer.

Bailey also says there's no need to hold a hearing on MSHA's demand that LaRosa stop operating the impoundment.

State regulators revoked the permit for the potentially dangerous North Hollow dam near Century.

Though the dam is no longer operating, the Department of Environmental Protection is hiring a consultant to assess it and develop a plan to drain it.