Policymakers Propose New Mining Reforms

House Democrats during early July introduced major reforms responding to serious health and safety concerns raised by workers and their families since Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine (UBB) tragedy killed 29 miners, and other recent workplace tragedies. The House Education and Labor Committee had scheduled a hearing for July 13, 2010.

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UBB Investigation Begins; Massey Cries Foul

A team of experts appointed by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) began its investigation of the April 5 explosion at the Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine. Previously they had been prevented from beginning their physical probe due to conditions underground. On June 24, mine rescue teams wrapped up a nearly month-long effort to explore the mine and ensure it was safe for investigators to proceed. During that time, MSHA, the state and the mine company engaged in a series of mine rehabilitation efforts, including drilling boreholes and repairing damaged ventilation systems. Rescue teams also discovered an active hot spot and several previous hot spots during their exploration of the mine that may have accounted for high concentrations of toxic gases.

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Multiple Industries Protest the EPA’s Authority to Revoke Existing Permits

A new policy proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) poses a threat to thousands of jobs and a sustainable economic recovery, warned a dozen industries in joint comments filed June 4 with the agency.

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Report Confirms Dotiki Mine Accident Due to Undetectable Geologic Conditions

Alliance Resource Partners recently announced the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing (OMSL) has issued its final report on the fatal roof fall accident that occurred April 28, 2010, at the Dotiki mine operated by its subsidiary Webster County Coal. The accident tragically claimed the lives of two Dotiki miners, Justin Travis and Michael Carter.

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National Coal Announces Reverse Stock Split

Shareholders of National Coal Corp. approved amendments to the company’s articles of incorporation giving the board of directors approval to execute a reverse 1-for-4 stock split. In related news, the company announced the beginning of construction on its new Mine No. 12, which when fully operational is anticipated to add about 40,000 tons per month to the company’s production. First production is planned for the fourth quarter of 2010.