Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Massey to close mine feds threatened to seize

Massey Energy told Howard Berkes of National Public Radio today that it will close an underground coal mine in far Eastern Kentucky that was in line to be the first ever seized or shut by the federal government for a pattern of dangerous safety violations. "The Freedom Energy Mine No. 1 in Pike County is the focus of an unprecedented federal court action in which the Labor Department is seeking to have the court seize control of the mine," Berkes notes. (Map by Nelson Hsu, NPR)

Mine safety experts told NPR that the feds can claim victory. "I don't think Massey would have closed the mine without the government's action," said Tony Oppegard, a Lexington, Ky., lawyer. The department says it "will continue to seek a court order to ensure that miners who continue to work in any capacity at Freedom are safe." Some workers will remain to remove equipment; the rest will be transferred to other Massey mines, Berkes reports.

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