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Sun Apr 5, 2020, 09:40 PM

West Virginia governor's coal companies to pay $5M in fines

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Billionaire West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s coal companies have agreed to pay more than $5 million for thousands of mine safety violations, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

The civil case brought by prosecutors in Virginia last year on behalf of the U.S. Department of Labor and the Mine Safety and Health Administration sought to claim payments on nearly 2,300 violations committed since 2014.

The Republican governor’s companies repeatedly failed to pay off the fines after years of requests from multiple federal agencies, authorities said in a news release.

“Ensuring that mine operators pay their penalties for violating mine safety and health laws is an important part of protecting miners’ safety and health, and that means holding them accountable if they fail to pay fines,” said David G. Zatezalo, assistant secretary for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Prosecutors said the Justice family’s 24 companies operate in Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky. The payment covers the fines from the May 2019 lawsuit as well as additional violations not included in the original case.

Read more: https://www.newsandsentinel.com/wire/?category=5465&ID=111125
(Parkersburg News and Sentinel)

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