MSHA

Gov. Jim Justice, R. W.Va., delivers his annual State of the State speech on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in Charleston, W.Va.
Tyler Evert / Associated Press

Updated May 8, 2019 at 2:45 p.m. 

 

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a civil lawsuit against 23 coal companies owned by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, seeking more than $4.7 million in unpaid fines and fees for mine safety and health violations.

Mine Workers Sue Federal Regulators Over Controversial Mine Safety Decision

Dec 5, 2018
This MSHA inspection photograph shows where Affinity mine shuttle operator John Myles was killed in 2013.
MSHA

The United Mine Workers of America is suing the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, or MSHA, after the agency reduced its heightened oversight of a West Virginia coal mine with a poor safety record. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

President Donald Trump’s top mine safety regulator used a recent lecture at West Virginia University to lay out his priorities for the agency charged with keeping miners safe. 

David Zatezalo, a West Virginia native and former mine executive, focused on how the Mine Safety and Health Administration could use technology to reduce mining fatalities and injuries. But as Brittany Patterson reports, he offered few remedies for the shocking increase in black lung disease.

President Trump made coal jobs a core of his presidential campaign, repeatedly vowing to bring back "beautiful" coal despite the industry's decades-long decline. And in pockets of the U.S. during Trump's first year in office, it may well have felt like a turnaround was underway.

A review of data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration shows 1,001 more U.S. coal jobs last year compared with 2016, although energy analysts say the reasons are short term and have nothing to do with White House policies.

Credit WikiMedia Commons

The Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training confirms a fatal incident occurred Friday, December 29, 2017 at approximately 12:57 a.m., at the Revelation Energy, LLC, Revelation S7 mine in Fayette County, West Virginia. Preliminary information indicates Thurman A. Watts of Harts, WV, died when a dozer he was operating traveled over the high wall. Mr. Watts was a dozer operator at the mine; he was 34 years old.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear the next chapter in The Struggle to Stay. Lately, we’ve been following 21-year-old Derek Akal, a native of eastern Kentucky. We’ve met several generations of his ancestors, and heard the stories of how they moved to and from the coal-camp town in Harlan County, where Derek lives.

New Mine Safety 'Assistance' Program Raises Concerns

Sep 14, 2017
MSHA

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

 

Adobe Stock

A coal miner has died in West Virginia, the sixth mining fatality in the state this year.

In a news release, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) confirmed the fatality Friday at Carter Roag Coal Co.'s Pleasant Hill Mine on the Upshur-Randolph county border near Tallmansville, south of Buckhannon.

Jim Justice Victory Speech
Walter Scriptunas II / AP

Mining operations controlled by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice haven't paid $4.6 million in safety fines and penalties, according to federal authorities.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration said that was the unpaid balance as of Wednesday. Most of it is at the Treasury Department for collection.

Fotolia DollarPhoto Club

The departing head of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration says he's concerned miners' protections may be rolled back under the Trump administration to address some coal industry complaints about regulation.

Six groups will share $1 million in grants to develop training for emergency preparedness and accident prevention in underground mines.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration announced the Brookwood-Sago grants last week.

National Mine Health and Safety Academy
Kaiwen1~commonswiki / wikimedia commons

A national mine health and safety academy in West Virginia is observing its 40th year in existence.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration plans to hold a ceremony Aug. 17 at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beaver. MSHA chief Joe Main is scheduled to deliver the keynote address.

Federal inspectors issued 138 citations and four orders at U.S. mine operations in January.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration says the inspections were conducted at 11 coal mines and six other mines in 12 states, including Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.

Black lung is a deadly disease caused by exposure to dust underground.
Department of Labor

The second phase of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administrations landmark rule that’s meant to prevent black lung disease, took effect this month. Among other requirements for companies, coal miners basically will be required to wear personal dust monitors.

Underground Mine, Miners, Mining
Robert PEnergy / wikimedia commons

Federal inspectors issued 133 citations and 12 orders at U.S. mine operations in September.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration says the inspections were conducted at 10 coal mines and seven other mines in 10 states.

Underground Mine, Miners, Mining
Robert PEnergy / wikimedia commons

The director of West Virginia's mine safety office says there is a growing substance abuse problem among miners.

Director Eugene White of the Office of Mine Health, Safety and Training told legislators on Monday that more than 800 miners have failed drug tests over the last three years, according to The Register-Herald.

Photo: AP Photo / Jeff Gentner / Photo Illustration: Dave Mistich

As former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship stands trial in Charleston, federal prosecutors continue to present evidence that he conspired to violate federal mine safety standards leading up to the April 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine.

Underground Mine, Miners, Mining
Robert PEnergy / wikimedia commons

Murray Energy has agreed to pay more than $3 million to resolve safety violations issued to five coal mines in northern West Virginia under a previous owner.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration said Wednesday that an administrative law judge approved the settlement between it and the Ohio-based company. The settlement resolves a total of 1,753 violations issued to the Blacksville No. 2, Robinson Run No. 95, Shoemaker, Loveridge No. 22 and McElroy mines prior to Murray Energy's acquisition of the operations from CONSOL Energy Inc. in December 2013.

A proposed rule from the Mine Safety and Health Administration will be published Wednesday, September 2, 2015 and requires all haulage machinery in underground coal mines be equipped with technology that prevents miners from being struck, pinned, or crushed.

Brianhayden1980 / wikimedia Commons

Attorneys for former coal executive Don Blankenship are pressing for documents related to the deadly Upper Big Branch Mine explosion in 2010.

They want the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration to turn over what the attorneys say are previously undisclosed documents. They include any records about a meeting and a phone call between the former Massey Energy CEO and MSHA's chief Joe Main in the two months before the mining disaster.

A Murray Energy subsidiary has been cited by federal regulators for an accident that killed one worker and injured three others at a mine in Marshall County.

A report released Wednesday by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration says McElroy Coal. Co. didn't adequately support the roof, face and walls where miners work or travel.

Mine Safety and Health Administration

Federal inspectors issued 188 citations and two orders at U.S. mine operations in March.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration says the inspections were conducted at 13 coal mines and seven other mines.

Dave Mistich / via Tableau Public (Data from MSHA)

Sunday marked five years since a tragedy in southern West Virginia that still fills headlines across the state. Five years ago, April 5, 2010, an explosion at Massey’s Upper Big Branch Mine near Montcoal in Raleigh County killed 29 men.

Federal regulators issued 199 citations during impact inspections of U.S. mines in November.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration conducted the inspections at 10 coal mines and six metal and nonmetal mines.

Courtesy of the Meade family

Perfect for your Thanksgiving road-trip: Fifty-one minutes of some great Appalachian stories, including: NPR's mine safety investigation continues. Where is the the mine with the highest delinquent fines in the U.S.? What happens when mines don’t pay their fines? And an update from the Appalachian Project, and how a financial adviser in Johnson City, TN decided to begin recording oral histories across Appalachia. These stories and more, in this week's episode of Inside Appalachia.

Courtesy of the Meade family

Perfect for your Thanksgiving road-trip: Fifty-one minutes of some great Appalachian stories, including: NPR's mine safety investigation continues. Where is the the mine with the highest delinquent fines in the U.S.? What happens when mines don’t pay their fines? And an update from the Appalachian Project, and how a financial adviser in Johnson City, TN decided to begin recording oral histories across Appalachia. These stories and more, in this week's episode of Inside Appalachia.

WV Division of Culture and History

Once considered untouchable, former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was indicted on four federal charges in connection with the Upper Big Branch Disaster that killed 29 men in 2010. It’s news that folks in the coalfields never thought would happen.

In this episode, we’ll hear a special investigative series of reports about outlaw coal mining companies that keep operating despite injuries, violations and millions in fines.

And a new lawsuit has just been filed on behalf of the 78 coal miners who died in the Farmington Mine Disaster. We’ll hear memories from Sarah Kasnoski, one of the widows who lost her husband on that fateful date, November 20, 1968. 

Investigating Outlaw Mines That Keep Operating Despite Delinquent Fines

A recent investigative report has uncovered that some coal companies are working the system to avoid paying fines. The report also finds a connection between skirted financial penalties and injured coal miners: mines with more delinquent fines also have higher rates of injured workers.

NPR and Mine Safety and Health News sifted through citations, and documents for more than a year to find the connection. NPR’s Howard Berkes says it was no easy task. Each delinquent fine has a different start date, so tracking the injuries associated with the delinquent fines was complicated. In this episode, we hear the first three of these reports. We also talk with Berkes about mine safety and the development of these investigations.

Southern Coal
Patrick Graham

Another West Virginia coal miner died this week, the fifth death this year. It's a tough reality in the coalfields where families regularly pray that loved ones will come home from a day's work, as they have for decades.

As incidents are reported, media outlets often share the amount of citations or delinquent fines of the mine where the accident occurred. But to what end?


Federal mining officials are citing Patriot Coal for serious violations during a severe coal burst that killed two miners in May.

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration issued three citations Tuesday for the Boone County mine accident.

Citations say Patriot didn't adequately protect miners from hazards, report a similar burst three days earlier or preserve evidence about the earlier burst.

Pages