A former operator at an eastern Kentucky mine that hasn’t paid almost $700,000 in civil penalties stemming from a fatal blast almost six years ago is involved with companies operating at least two active mines with safety violations.
The Courier-Journal cites state records in reporting that Ralph Napier, a former operator of Kentucky Darby Mine No.1 in Harlan County, serves as vice president of companies running at least two active mines in Harlan.
An analysis by the newspaper of 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.
MSHA chief Joseph Main told the newspaper that his agency plans to look at the connection among the companies.
Napier did not respond to a request for comment, nor did the attorney for Kentucky Darby.
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