Feds Sue Kentucky Coal Company Over Unpaid Fines

May 29, 2007

The nation’s chief mine safety agency has gone to court to try to compel a Kentucky coal company to pay fines, the fifth such lawsuit in a little more than a year, federal officials announced.

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration is suing Little Ty Coal Co., which operates three underground coal mines in eastern Kentucky, for not paying $145,432 in penalties on citations issued between September 2004 and March 2007.

“We hope this legal action will compel Little Ty Coal Co. Inc. to pay its debt and end its practice of ignoring monetary penalties,” MSHA director Richard E. Stickler said in a statement.

Calls to Little Ty Coal offices in Pike and Floyd counties on went unanswered last week.

Since February 2006, MSHA has filed five federal lawsuits in federal district court in a new approach to hold mine operators accountable for penalties.

The first lawsuit was filed against Stanley Osborne, head of Misty Mountain Mining and Midgard Mining LLC in Pike County, who failed to pay more than $200,000 in fines since the 1980s, according to court documents.

On May 22, Osborne agreed to post a $20,000 bond to ensure payment of future fines. The agreement with MSHA awaits approval from a federal judge.

On the Net:
U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration at www.msha.gov

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