Justice Coal Companies

Peabody Energy, Inc. / Wikimedia Commons

More than 50 Ohio Valley coal companies received loans totaling as much as $119 million through the Paycheck Protection Program meant to keep people employed during the pandemic’s economic downturn.

Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

A federal judge has denied a request by coal companies owned by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice to dismiss a lawsuit over selenium violations at a southern West Virginia coal mine. 

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice gives a speech during a Department of Tourism conference Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018, at the Morgantown Event Center.
Jesse Wright / WVPB

A federal judge in Kentucky has ordered companies owned by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice to pay more than $1 million in fees and expenses in a lawsuit that accused them of defaulting on a mining contract.

looney ridge surface coal mine
Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

Coal companies owned by the family of West Virginia Governor Jim Justice have agreed to pay more than $5 million in overdue mine health and safety fines and fees.

looney ridge surface coal mine
Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

Standing at an overlook on the top of Black Mountain — the tallest point in Kentucky —  the wooded Appalachian mountains stretch on like a sea of green for miles.

For many, this mountain is synonymous with the coal industry. It straddles the state line separating Harlan County, Kentucky and Wise County, Virginia, two communities that have long relied on mining the black gold contained in its depths.

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.

Gov. Justice takes the oath of office as his son James C. Justice III (center) looks on.
Office of the West Virginia Governor

Federal prosecutors have agreed to drop a motion seeking to hold West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and his son, Jay Justice, personally accountable for a $1.23 million civil penalty levied against one of the family’s coal businesses, Justice Energy Company, Inc.

In an order filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, attorneys for Justice Energy proposed that another Justice company, Bluestone Resources, Inc., will pay the fine.

 

In exchange, federal prosecutors agreed to withdraw a motion seeking a court ruling that the Justices be held personally responsible for the civil contempt fine levied on Justice Energy because the company is, in effect “a shell corporation with no real independent and separate corporate existence.

 

Gov. Justice takes the oath of office as his son James C. Justice III (center) looks on.
Office of the West Virginia Governor

In apparent anticipation of a federal lawsuit seeking recovery of overdue penalties, coal companies owned by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice have filed a lawsuit of their own against federal surface mining regulators.

 

 

The suit, first reported by WV MetroNews, is an apparent preemptive strike against the federal government, which is preparing to sue the companies over over unpaid fines associated with more than 100 environmental and reclamation violations at mines in West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Mine Safety Debt For WV Gov. Justice’s Family Companies Grows to $4M

Apr 8, 2019
Courtesy WV Governor's Office

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.