Quantcast

Coal Execs Indicted for Lying on Safety Tests

Energy
X-ray tech explains a chest x-ray to a coal miner in Harlan County, KY. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Eight former coal company officials were indicted in a Kentucky court Wednesday on charges that they lied to federal regulators about the levels of breathable dust in their mines, increasing their miners' risk of exposure to the conditions that can cause black lung disease.


The indictment includes charges that the former supervisors and safety officials of Armstrong Coal moved dust monitors to cleaner areas of their mines to obtain more desirable readings and forced workers without monitors to mine in dirtier areas where monitors were required.

The problems at Armstrong's mines were first revealed in a 2014 Huffington Post exposé. The indictment comes as the nation's miners face a resurgence in black lung disease: a study published in February showed that cases of black lung in communities in Appalachia have spiked to some of the highest levels ever reported.

As reported by InsideClimateNews:

The indictments, announced by U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman at an Owensboro museum that tells the long history of coal mining in this part of the country, charge that the mine personnel sought to deceive regulators with the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) about the daily levels of breathable dust at two mines owned by the Armstrong Coal. The company, which was based in Madisonville, Kentucky, has since gone bankrupt but was named as an unindicted co-conspirator.
"The health of our miners matters to Western Kentucky communities and those sworn to protect them," Coleman said. "When companies and their senior officials are prepared to disregard the law and put miners at risk, they should also be prepared to face federal prosecutors."
He said the indicted officials cheated and lied while avoiding the costs of ventilation and production controls, putting the company's bottom line above the health and safety of hundreds of mine workers.

For a deeper dive:

AP, Huffington Post, InsideClimate News, Louisville Courier Journal, Lexington Herald-Leader

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

One of the 25 new Long Beach Transit hybrid gasoline-electric buses on April 23, 2009. Jeff Gritchen / Digital First Media / Orange County Register / Getty Images

In Long Beach, California, some electric buses can charge along their route without cords or wires.

When a bus reaches the Pine Avenue station, it parks over a special charging pad. While passengers get on and off, the charger transfers energy to a receiver on the bottom of the bus.

Read More Show Less
Semi trucks travel along I94 on June 21 near Lake forest, Illinois. Scott Olson / Getty Images

The Trump administration pushed through an exemption to clean air rules, effectively freeing heavy polluting, super-cargo trucks from following clean air rules. It rushed the rule without conducting a federally mandated study on how it would impact public health, especially children, said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Inspector General Charles J. Sheehan in a report released yesterday, as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

A time-restricted eating plan provides a new way to fight obesity and metabolic diseases that affect millions of people worldwide. RossHelen / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Satchin Panda and Pam Taub

People with obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure or high cholesterol are often advised to eat less and move more, but our new research suggests there is now another simple tool to fight off these diseases: restricting your eating time to a daily 10-hour window.

Read More Show Less
Kunhui Chih / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Plastic debris washed up on remote islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans has killed hermit crabs, which mistake the plastic for shells, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
A man and his dog walk past an H&M store in Stockholm, Sweden on March 11, 2014. Melanie Stetson Freeman / The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

By Ashutosh Pandey

H&M's flagship store at the Sergels Torg square in Stockholm is back in business after a months-long refurbishment. But it's not exactly business as usual here.

Read More Show Less