Manufacturer Sues County Over ‘Illegal’ Ordinance Targeting Chemical Spill

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – A chemical manufacturer is suing a county commission over an ordinance that it says is an illegal attempt to recover money more than three years after a spill that contaminated the drinking water supply in nine West Virginia counties.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Eastman Chemical Company filed a lawsuit last Friday against the Lincoln County Commission and three prosecutors who they say drafted the regulatory measure in conflict of interest. It was passed last month.

The company claims that one of the lawyers attempted to coerce a cash settlement larger than the jurisdictional amount in exchange for forgoing a lawsuit over the 2014 chemical spill. The complaint also says West Virginia state law pre-empts the ordinance.

Attempts to reach the Lincoln County Commission and lawyers were unsuccessful.