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Judge gives preliminary OK to Alpha settlement

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  RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Alpha Natural Resources says a federal judge has given preliminary approval to a $265 million settlement with former Massey Energy investors who say they were deliberately misled about the company's safety record .
   The Bristol, Va., coal producer said Monday that U.S. District Judge Irene Berger gave preliminary approval last week and set a hearing for June to discuss the settlement.
   Investors led by the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment say the former Massey Energy Co. repeatedly lied about its record, artificially inflating stock prices between 2008 and 2010.
   They say shareholders had no knowledge of Massey's long history of violations until after the Upper Big Branch mine in southern West Virginia exploded in April 2010. Twenty-nine men died.
   Richmond-based Massey Energy was bought by Alpha Natural Resources in June 2011.

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