A hearing has been delayed on an illegal dumping charge filed by Logan County officials against one of the plaintiffs in a federal court case over mountaintop removal.
James Weekley of Blair was scheduled to appear before Logan Magistrate Danny Wells today to answer a complaint filed by the county solid waste authority.
But the hearing was canceled because of a death in Wells' family, and Logan prosecutor John Sims is concerned the case could be a vendetta against Weekley because of his stance against mountaintop removal.
"I feel that there probably is" a connection, Sims said Wednesday.
Lawyers for Weekley declined comment.
Weekley is one of the named plaintiffs in a federal court case filed by the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and a group of coalfield environmentalists to try to curb mountaintop removal mining.
So far, the case has resulted in a preliminary injunction that stopped Arch Coal Inc. from expanding its Dal-Tex mountaintop removal mine near Blair. Arch wants to move the mining onto a 3,100-acre permit along Pigeonroost Branch, where Weekley lives.
Chief U.S. District Judge Charles Haden II issued the preliminary injunction on March 3.
Less than a week later, on March 9, Jack Casey of the Logan County Solid Waste Authority inspected the Pigeonroost Branch area.
According to a criminal complaint filed in magistrate court, Casey found "a coal truck bed full of household garbage, containing Mr. Weekley's name and address."
The complaint, signed by assistant prosecutor Dan Dahill, noted that in West Virginia "it is unlawful for any person to create, contribute to or operate an open dump."