Feds Sue To Close Massey Mine Over Safety Violations

Feds Sue To Close Massey Mine Over Safety Violations

Charleston : WV : USA | Nov 06, 2010 at 2:56 PM PDT
Views: Pending
Drilling efforts take place above Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Coal Mine

On Wednesday, the US Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) filed an unprecedented federal lawsuit seeking to shut down a mine operated by the troubled coal mining company Massey Energy for continually violating safety laws.

The Labor Department has been targeting mines with poor safety records since a blast killed 29 miners at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia on April 5. The explosion was the deadliest at a US coal mine in four decades and is the subject of criminal and civil investigations.

The lawsuit seeks to shut down Massey subsidiary Freedom Energy’s Mine No. 1 in Pike County, Kentucky until the company corrects the violations and comes up with a way to prevent them in the future. The suit asks that the workers continue to be paid while the mine is offline.

“We’re not just looking at the injury rates, especially in this situation. My understanding is that Massey reported to its own shareholders that it underreports injury rates by approximately 37%,” said Patricia Smith, the Labor Department’s solicitor.

“MSHA has attempted to reason with the operator,” David Ison, a regional MSHA official, penned in one document filed with the lawsuit. “The conditions at this mine are the result of a total disregard for basic mine maintenance and safety.”

“It is my belief that the levels of methane that occurred on February 4, 2010 may occur at any time in this mine if the operator does not pay close attention to ventilation issues,” MSHA official Stevie Justice penned in another document. “If the methane reaches explosive levels, even occasionally, there is grave risk of an explosion to the miners working at the mine.”

“All of the conditions regularly cited by MSHA at Freedom Energy are of the type that result in fatal accidents,” MSHA official Danny Deel penned in another document.

Although Smith estimated that Massey could fix the mine in a matter of weeks, she added “that [it] really depends upon how much cooperation we get.”

Source: The Associated Press

1 of 4
Don Blankenship is in big trouble!
Stephanie Sklar is based in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
Report Credibility
  • Clear
  • Share:
  • Share
  • Clear
  • Clear
  • Clear
  • Clear

News Stories

  • Too dangerous for mining

      Lexington Herald-Leader
    Never in the 33 years since Congress authorized it had injunctive relief been sought against the operator of an unsafe mine, until now...In response, the mine's owner, Massey Energy, said that it is considering voluntarily idling the operation...
  • No bribe evidence in Upper Big Branch mine probe, prosecutor says

      Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Roddy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette A federal criminal investigation into the Upper Big Branch mine explosion does not include a probe into whether Massey Energy employees bribed mine inspectors, the region's prosecutor said Friday...Upper Big Branch mine,...
  • Massey reveals methane citation at W.Va. mine

      Merced Sun-Star
    Federal regulators have cited a Massey Energy Co. subsidiary after explosive levels of methane and low oxygen forced investigators to evacuate the West Virginia mine involved in the deadliest U.S. coal industry disaster since 1970. The troubled...
  • Shares of coal miner Massey jump more than 11 percent on Alpha Resources ...

    Shares of coal miner Massey Energy Co. jumped more than 11 percent Friday on rumors of a takeover offer from rival Alpha Natural Resources. The Wall Street Journal reported that Alpha Natural Resources Inc. was considering a buyout of the Richmond,...
  • Massey gets bigger credit line

    Coal mine operator Massey Energy Co. says it's increased the size of an asset-based credit line to as much as $200 million. Massey says the limit of the deal announced Monday depends on factors including accounts receivable. The company says it's...





More From Allvoices

Related People

Report Your News Got a similar story?
Add it to the network!

Or add related content to this report

Use of this site is governed by our Terms of Use Agreement and Privacy Policy.

© Allvoices, Inc. 2008-2014. All rights reserved. Powered by PulsePoint.