Workers to get medical testing from settlement
CHARLESTON -- Nearly 25,000 current and former coal preparation plant workers would receive testing to detect diseases potentially linked to toxic chemical exposure under a proposed legal settlement.
The deal offers the exams for plant workers in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and about 5,000 current or former West Virginia wastewater treatment facility employees.
Chemtall Inc. and a half-dozen other companies agreed to the nearly $14 million settlement to resolve litigation over exposure to chemicals used to separate solids from liquids during the processing of coal or the cleaning of municipal wastewater. Under the deal, the companies would pay $6.6 million to set up the medical monitoring program, won't oppose the workers' lawyers petition for $4.65 million in fees and nearly $2 million for expenses.
The Charleston Gazette reports that the deal received initial approval last month in Marshall County Circuit Court.
Senators ask if coal exports skirt royalties
BILLINGS, Mont. -- Lawmakers are asking the U.S. Department of Interior to review whether companies are shortchanging federal and state governments out of millions of dollars in royalties on coal exported to foreign markets.
Friday's request from Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski comes as U.S. coal exports hit a record of an estimated 124 million tons last year. That includes coal shipped to Asia from the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming.
The senators want Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to determine if companies have violated federal leasing law by paying royalties on the coal's mine price, then selling it overseas at a higher price through affiliated brokers.
National Mining Association spokeswoman Carol Raulston says companies believe they are complying with the law.
The concerns over export royalties were first reported by Reuters.
Dempsey says he beat Starbucks for coffee chain
SEATTLE -- "Grey's Anatomy" star Patrick Dempsey may be the real "McSteamy."
The actor, who was dubbed "McDreamy" as a star of the hospital drama while his co-star was called "McSteamy," may soon be serving hot, steaming cups of Joe.
Dempsey won a bankruptcy auction to buy Tully's Coffee, a small coffee chain based in Seattle. Among those he beat out is Tully's much bigger Seattle neighbor, Starbucks Corp., which is known for its ubiquitous white cups with a circular green mermaid logo.
The win for Dempsey deals a rare setback for Starbucks on its home turf. Starbucks has long been both praised for bringing "coffeehouse culture" to the U.S. and criticized for crushing smaller chains. The coffee giant, which had planned to convert the Tully's cafes to its own brand, last month announced plans to expand its global footprint to 20,000 cafes over the next two years, up from the current 18,000.