Bloomberg BNA published a special report about the disturbing trend of coal mining states scaling back their mine inspection programs. ACLC weighed in on Kentucky’s drastic reduction in the number of underground coal mine inspections:
Mine owners cannot receive citations and associated financial penalties during these visits, reducing the costs associated with noncompliance. And the potential reductions in required site inspections worry people such as Wes Addington, a lawyer at the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center. Addington and others, including state regulators, said interest in enacting or tightening state inspection laws unfortunately only become a priority in the aftermath of a mining disaster. Several pointed to legislative actions taken in Ohio and elsewhere following a mining disaster in Sago, W. Va., in 2006 that killed 12 miners.
“Sadly, the legislature and Gov. Bevin are ignoring the history of coal mine deaths and disasters in this state. Slashing the number of mine inspections will lead to fatalities and catastrophic injuries,” Addington wrote in an email to Bloomberg BNA. “Mining families deserve better.”