Category: Legally Speaking

Legally Speaking – Jan-Feb 2018

Don’t Allow Bad Deeds to Go Unpunished At some point, most mine operators have faced a dilemma where their company discovers miners have been doing something improper. The alleged infraction justifies disciplining the miners....

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Legally Speaking – December 2017

One-size Regulation Doesn’t Fit All? Consider a Modification In recent years, a number of our clients have faced Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) inspectors writing citations based on new interpretations of old...

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Legally Speaking – October/November 2017

Confirmation of MSHA Nominee Seems LikelyIn the September “Legally Speaking” column, Washington D.C., defense counsel Avi Meyerstein discussed his top 10 list of needed Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reforms...

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Legally Speaking – September 2017

MSHA Changes Could Make a Real Difference As the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) gets new leadership, what changes are in store? Over 40 years, technologies, safety records and industry economics have changed...

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Legally Speaking – July-August 2017

The Importance of Clarifying Employee ‘Impairment’ As Marijuana Laws Evolve As more states continue to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes and even recreational use, employers’ rights and responsibilities are beginning to...

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Legally Speaking – June 2017

How Do You Represent Yourself When Challenging MSHA Citations? Picture this. Your mine gets a Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) citation you do not agree with for a variety a reasons. The problem is, it’s been...

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Legally Speaking – May 2017

Trump’s Executive Order on the Clean Power Plan Signals Potential Shifts in Coal Industry In the last Legally Speaking column of Coal Age, author Jason Moore discussed the expectation that President Donald Trump would sign an...

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The Trump Transition

Recent actions by President Trump and Congressional Republicans strongly indicate that the president intends to make good on repeated promises to take dramatic action to revitalize the coal industry. Perhaps most important among...

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Where Employment Law Meets MSHA: Practical Tips to Avoid Whistleblower Claims

All operators are familiar with the rights afforded to all miners under the Mine Act. For example, all miners (hourly or salaried) have the right (1) to file or make a complaint to the agency, the operator or a miner’s representative; (2) to participate in proceedings under the act such as testifying in a proceeding; (3) to withdraw themselves from the mine for not having the required health and safety training; and (4) refuse to work in unsafe conditions. These acts are considered “protected activity” under the Mine Act. Miners who feel they have been discriminated against for engaging in this activity can file a complaint under Section 105(c) of the act.

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Clinton’s and Trump’s Plans for Coal and Other Energy Sources

As the presidential election season enters its final, frenzied phase, it has become readily apparent that once-elected either of the two candidates will have a monumental impact on the nation’s energy future. Although Democrats and Republicans traditionally differ on their energy views, policy experts have stated the sharp disconnect between Hilary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s plans concerning energy and climate change is nothing short of historic. Clinton’s energy plan prioritizes investing in and incentivizing renewable-energy technology to help create jobs and transition the United States to a lower-carbon economy. Trump, meanwhile, calls Clinton and her energy plan extremist, and his “America First” energy plan focuses primarily on the country’s energy independence and growth in fossil fuel production and use.

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No CERCLA Liability for Air Emissions

Being held liable for cleanup costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) is rightly a significant concern for companies in the mining industry. There is no statute of limitations on CERCLA liability, so disposal considerations can have a long-lasting impact on a company’s bottom line.
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Top 10 Coal Producing States

Week Ending 3/31/2018
(in Thousand Short Tons)
  YTD '18 YTD '17 % Change
Wyoming 50,523 50,732 -0.4
West Virgina 23,610 23,684 -0.3
Pennsylvania 12,527 12,595 -0.5
Illinois 12,446 12,683 -1.9
Kentucky 10,754 11,443 -6.0
Indiana 7,816 8,386 -6.8
Texas 7,760 8,737 -11.2
Montana 7,758 7,243 7.1
North Dakota 6,655 7,234 -8.0
Colorado 4,421 3,784 16.8
U.S. Total 191,097 197,033 -3.0

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