Late last week the Charleston Gazette reported on a unique birth defect lawsuit that was filed in the hopes of preventing a mining permit from being issued. A citizen group filed the complaint in the case which seeks to prevent an Alpha Natural Resources mining permit from being issued out of concerns for the effect that the mining efforts will have on the health of nearby residents. At the heart of the suit is new evidence produced by researchers from West Virginia University which found high rates of cancer and birth defects among those living in the mountaintops near where the removal operations are slated to take place.
The organization which initiated the lawsuit, the Ohio Valley Environmental Group, has asked the local federal judge to block the requested permit to prevent the mining and hopefully to prevent medical harm coming to those in the area. Within the suit the environmental team explained that the Army Corps of Engineers failed to properly consider the overall impact that the mine would have on water quality in the area. In addition, the legal team is arguing that those involved with the efforts did not allow public input on the measure which was required by law. All of this was argued in addition to the growing body of scientific evidence which suggest strong public health consequences for the effort.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency had previously objected to the permit’s issuance, but they decided against stepping in to stop the latest approval. The environmental group which took up the challenge explained that conductivity and selenium water pollution would hurt the nearby population. This type of pollution has been shown to increase the instances of birth defects. When expectant mothers consume unnatural levels of these chemicals in nearby water, their developing children are affected. As with all medical harm, it is much preferable to take steps to prevent the problems from occurring in the first place. This includes keeping waters safe, instead of merely treating the illnesses that arise as a consequence of the pollution. The WVU School of Medicine recently found that that birth defect were more common than normal among Appalachian residents living near these removal operations.
The Illinois birth injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti have decades of experience working with families whose young children were born with problems as the result of the negligent or intentional misconduct of others. We know that every year more families face an Illinois birth injury that will affect their and their newborn’s lives forever. Most families are resilient enough to work through the problems and ensure that the quality of life for their little one is maximized as much as possible. However, there is only so much that one can do without the necessary financial resources to ensure that the victims are provided for in the best way possible. The civil justice system is an avenue by which those responsible for the birth problem are held accountable for the costs of that care. Otherwise the victim is either forced to go without or taxpayers are billed for the costs of the care via social safety net programs.
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