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Private mining lawyers charge state $42,000

Private lawyers have charged the state $42,630 for a month's work defending the state Division of Environmental Protection's permitting of mountaintop removal coal mining.

The firm Bailey & Glasser also charged the state $1,150 for expenses during the month of April, according to figures provided by DEP spokesman Andy Gallagher.

Last month, DEP Director Michael Miano hired lawyers Ben Bailey and Brian Glasser to defend his agency in a federal court lawsuit over mountaintop removal.

An April 28 contract signed by Miano does not put any limit on the total amount of money Bailey & Glasser will be paid for their work. The lawyers started work several weeks before the contract was signed.

Bailey & Glasser advised DEP to not release the detailed bill they submitted to the state more than a week ago. They say that the details would reveal the agency's legal strategies.

On Wednesday, Gallagher released the dollar amount the lawyers had billed, and the number of hours worked, during April.

Bailey charged the state $13,864 for 71.1 hours worked, at a rate of $195 per hour. Glasser charged $24,375 for 162.5 hours worked, at $150 per hour.

Investigator Chuck Little charged $1,377 for 16.2 hours worked, at $85 per hour. Lawyer Jennifer Fahey charged $3,013 for 28.7 hours worked, at $105 per hour.

Gallagher said that Miano decided late Wednesday not to release a more detailed accounting of the Bailey & Glasser bill, including dates and descriptions of work performed.

"We will only do that if we are sued and lose," Gallagher said.

Barbara Allen, a managing deputy state attorney general, said the bill was sent first to her office for its review two weeks ago.

"I think that first bill was both reasonable and necessary," Allen said. "It looks like it is pretty complicated litigation."

Allen said she forwarded the bill to DEP on May 11. She added that the bill was a public record.

 

To contact staff writer Ken Ward Jr., call 348-1702.

 


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