Sunday, May 27, 2012

KY Mine Operators Owe Millions In Delinquent Fines

Records from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration show that Kentucky mine operators owe MSHA $29.2 million, which is 40 percent of the $73.6 million total owed to the agency in mine safety fines. Mine operators in West Virginia ranked second, owing MSHA $14.7 million in delinquent fines. The records show many of the fines stem from safety violations in 1993. MSHA chief Joseph Main says the agency has a collection rate of 85-90 percent, and it collected $104 million last year in penalties, which is 84 percent of the fines it assessed. In 2006 and 2007, MSHA collected 90 percent of the penalties it assessed. Former mine safety official Tony Oppegard says MSHA needs more power to collect delinquent fines.