MSHA

Howard Berkes, NPR

Harold Sturgill was disabled by black lung disease when he was 58 years old. Now he advocates for disabled miners.

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.

Kara Lofton, WVPB

It’s been two years since President Donald Trump took office and began rolling back environmental regulations on the coal industry.

At a November rally in Huntington, West Virginia, the president took credit for a coal comeback in front of a cheering crowd.

“We’ve ended the war on beautiful, clean coal and we’re putting our coal miners back to work,” he said. “That you know better than anybody.”

But federal data about the industry tell a different story.

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.

MSHA

Lawmakers and union leaders are raising concerns about the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration’s practices amid an increase in coal fatalities.  

www.dailyyonder.com

After a federal Court of Appeals rejected an industry-led challenge last month, a new federal rule to reduce coal miners’ exposure to dangerous dust goes into effect Monday.

Mine foreman Rome Meade screamed his final words: "Back up! Back up!" he shouted, as a trailer loaded with concrete blocks weighing a total of 10,000 pounds smashed him into a conveyor belt.

Other miners rushed to help, running bent over in the underground coal mine that was only 3 to 5 feet high. When the trailer pulled away, Meade's crushed body crumpled to the floor. One miner shouted his name over and over. Another pressed fingers to Meade's neck, detecting a faint pulse.

The West Virginia mine where two workers were fatally injured on Monday consistently violated federal mine safety laws, but federal regulators say they were unable to shut it down completely.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration confirmed that two workers were killed on May 12 when coal and rocks burst from mine walls at Patriot Coal's Brody No. 1 mine in Boone County, W.Va.

iStockPhoto

Madisonville will house the nation’s fourth Mine Safety and Health Administration emergency response center.

MSHA’s Kevin Stricklin says the new center starts operations in early spring. Stricklin says having those capabilities in Madisonville reduces mining disaster response time in the Midwest by around eight hours.

Ky. mine operators owe $29M in delinquent fines

May 28, 2012

A published report says Kentucky coal operators owe more in delinquent fines to federal authorities for mine safety violations than any other state.  The Louisville Courier-Journal reports the finding from an analysis of records from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.  Records show Kentucky mine operators owe MSHA just over 29 million dollars, 40 percent of the total seventy-three and a half million owed to the agency in mine safety fines.