Monday, April 23, 2012

Mine Fines Unpaid

  • {Harlan, Kentucky}...According to state records, Ralph Napier, a former operator of Kentucky Darby Mine No.1 in Harlan County, serves as vice president of K & D Mining Inc. and Neco Energy Inc., which run at least two active mines in Harlan. Data from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration shows that the two companies owe at least $637,000 in past-due penalties for about 400 safety violations. Federal records show MSHA has referred Kentucky Darby's delinquent fines to the Treasury Department for collection and has obtained a 20-year lien on the property where five miners were killed in an explosion in 2006. Attorney Tony Oppegard, who represents the spouses of four victims at the Kentucky Darby mine, says the ability of someone connected to Kentucky Darby to stay in the business but not pay large fines related to safety violations shows the weakness of federal laws. Mine Safety and Health Administration chief Joseph Main says his agency plans to look at the connection between the companies.