mine safety

Courtesy WV Governor's Office

Coal companies controlled by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice have agreed to a settlement covering millions of dollars in overdue property taxes in four eastern Kentucky counties: Harlan, Knott, Magoffin, and Pike.

Courtesy WV Governor

An Ohio Valley ReSource analysis of federal mine safety data shows that the companies belonging to the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice owe $4.3 million in delinquent debt for mine safety violations. That is far more than the companies owed when Justice ran for governor in 2016, when he pledged to make good on such debts.

MSHA Records

Just a few months ago, the U.S. coal mining industry was on track for its safest year in history. But in an eleven-day span in late December, three miners died after separate incidents, bringing the total number of fatalities in 2018 to 12, even as coal mining employment continued its decline.

“It is a reminder to enforcement agencies and companies who are responsible for miner safety that you always have to be vigilant, you can never let up your guard,” Kentucky lawyer and mine safety advocate Tony Oppegard said.

iStockPhoto

 

  The federal government says up to $250,000 is available for grants to promote U.S. mine safety. The Labor Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration said the deadline for the Brookwood-Sago grant program is Aug. 23, with grants to be awarded by Sept. 28.

MSHA

The U.S. Senate voted along party lines Wednesday, 52 to 46, to narrowly confirm President Trump’s nominee to lead the Mine Safety and Health Administration, or MSHA. 

Courtesy office of Sen. Manchin

West Virginia Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Manchin will not support the Trump administration’s nominee to lead the federal agency in charge of mine safety. 

MSHA

  President Trump has nominated a retired West Virginia mine executive to lead the nation’s top mine safety agency. David Zatazelo is the former head of Rhino Resources, a coal company that was the focus of scrutiny by regulators in 2011 over safety violations. The nomination comes as mine safety experts are expressing concern over a rash of fatal coal mining accidents. This year, 12 miners have died -- eight of them in West Virginia and Kentucky.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Lawmakers in both Kentucky and West Virginia are working to loosen mine safety regulations, alarming some mine safety experts.

WKMS File Photo

An employee of a western Kentucky mine has been indicted by a federal grand jury for falsifying safety records and lying to inspectors. 

Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

The Democratic candidate for governor in West Virginia has never held public office. Jim Justice is instead running on his record as a businessman. He runs coal mines, farms, and a luxury resort, and according to Forbes, he’s also the wealthiest person in the state, worth $1.56 billion.


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