Government sues 23 coal companies for $4.7 million in unpaid fines

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Federal officials are suing nearly two dozen coal companies for more than $4.7 million in unpaid fines.

The civil action names 23 companies operating in Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) says it issued 2,297 citations to these companies between 2014 and 2019 for violating the Mine Safety and Health Act.

“The MSHA plays a critical role in protecting our coal miners and ensuring that mine owners and operators fulfill their legal obligations to provide safe and healthy working conditions,” U.S. Attorney Cullen said in a statement. “As alleged in the complaint, the defendants racked up over 2,000 safety violations over a five-year period and have, to date, refused to comply with their legal obligations to pay the resulting financial penalties. This is unacceptable, and, as indicated by this suit, we will hold them accountable.”  

The government is seeking $3,954,984.37 from the coal operators, the total amount of unpaid penalties, which includes original and newly-assessed penalties, plus an additional $821,386.03 for administrative costs and interest. 

The 23 coal companies listed in the civil action are: Southern Coal Corporation; Justice Coal of Alabama; A&G Coal Corporation; Black River Coal; Chestnut Land Holdings; Double Bonus Coal Company; Dynamic Energy; Four Star Resources; Frontier Coal Company; Infinity Energy; Justice Energy Company; Justice Highwall Mining; Kentucky Fuel Corporation; Keystone Service Industries; M&P Services; Nine Mile Mining; Nufac Mining Company; Pay Car Mining; Premium Coal Company; S and H Mining; Sequoia Energy; Tams Management; and Virginia Fuel Corporation.

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