Quantcast

Feds: Kentucky Coal Mine Supervisors Cheated On Dust Samples - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather

Feds: Kentucky Coal Mine Supervisors Cheated On Dust Samples

Posted: Updated:
David Goldman / AP David Goldman / AP

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Eight former supervisors and safety officers at a Kentucky coal company were indicted Wednesday on federal charges that they rigged dust monitoring in underground mines, forcing miners to work in the kind of dirty conditions that can lead to black lung disease.

The eight officials who worked at the now-bankrupt Armstrong Coal in western Kentucky were charged with one count each of conspiracy to defraud the government by "deceit, trickery and dishonest means," according to the indictment.

The indictment alleges company officials ordered workers to remove dust sampling equipment and place it in clean air portions of the mine to get desirable readings, or they moved workers without dust monitors into the dirtiest jobs. The indictment says the offenses happened at Armstrong's Parkway and Kronos mines between 2013 and 2015.

"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," Russell Coleman, the U.S. attorney for Kentucky's western district, said in a release.

Company officials fabricated and submitted dust sampling test results on days the mine was shut down or not in operation, and one mine superintendent twice mandated a safety official take whatever action necessary to ensure that the company passed dust sampling tests, according to the indictment.

Miners who breathe dusty air over a period of years are at risk of contracting pneumoconiosis, or black lung disease. Recently, there has been a resurgence of severe cases of the disease in Appalachian mines, thought in part to be caused by thinner coal seams and more powerful equipment that kicks up more dust.

Mike Wilson, a veteran miner who worked at the Parkway mine, said dust conditions were so bad on the job that he couldn't see his hand in front of his face.

"They've been doing this for years and years," he said in a phone interview Wednesday.

Wilson, 63, said he has been diagnosed with black lung and has trouble sleeping at night because of fluid buildup in his lungs. He ran a coal digging machine at the mine and was told he had to manipulate his dust monitor to get low readings. He said he would routinely stuff the monitor in his pocket and clog its tube to restrict air flow.

"Every boss and every safety guy wanted you to do this," he said.

Wilson said he went along with what his bosses told him for fear of losing a job that paid him about $27 an hour and offered routine bonuses. He retired in 2015 and said he now physically struggles to play with his grandchildren.

The eight indicted Wednesday are Charley Barber, the former superintendent of Parkway mine; Brian Keith Casebier, Parkway's former safety director; Steven DeMoss; Billie Hearld; Ron Ivy, Kronos mine's former safety director; John Ellis Scott; Dwight Fulkerson; and Jeremy Hackney. The maximum sentence on the conspiracy charge is five years in prison. It was not known Wednesday afternoon if the men had hired attorneys.

The Kronos mine has been purchased and is being run by another coal company. The Parkway mine has closed.

WEATHER
MaxTrack Doppler
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Lexington Police Identify Scammer Suspect

    Lexington Police Identify Scammer Suspect

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 3:55 PM EDT2018-07-18 19:55:10 GMT

    LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) - Lexington Police have identified the man behind an uncomfortable encounter in a hospital parking lot. A local woman posted to Facebook two weeks ago that she was approached by a man at St Joseph's Office Park on Harrodsburg Road.,  "The man is a well-dressed (as in-white starched shirt, tie, nice pants) Caucasian man in his early to mid-50s, driving a light silver or white sedan that looks like it costs much more than mine! He pulled up behind me ...

    LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) - Lexington Police have identified the man behind an uncomfortable encounter in a hospital parking lot. A local woman posted to Facebook two weeks ago that she was approached by a man at St Joseph's Office Park on Harrodsburg Road.,  "The man is a well-dressed (as in-white starched shirt, tie, nice pants) Caucasian man in his early to mid-50s, driving a light silver or white sedan that looks like it costs much more than mine! He pulled up behind me ...

  • KSP: Citizen Helps Stop Police Chase

    KSP: Citizen Helps Stop Police Chase

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 6:32 PM EDT2018-07-18 22:32:39 GMT

    SCOTT COUNTY, Ky (LEX 18) KSP said that a citizen took action during a police pursuit in Scott County.   A man is in custody. It happened after 8 p.m. Tuesday. A trooper was involved in a pursuit that started on US 25 and turned onto US 460 going towards Frankfort.  Near Western Elementary School, a citizen saw the pursuit and hit the suspect's car with their car, according to KSP.  The man the trooper was chasing was arrested, but we have n...

    SCOTT COUNTY, Ky (LEX 18) KSP said that a citizen took action during a police pursuit in Scott County.   A man is in custody. It happened after 8 p.m. Tuesday. A trooper was involved in a pursuit that started on US 25 and turned onto US 460 going towards Frankfort.  Near Western Elementary School, a citizen saw the pursuit and hit the suspect's car with their car, according to KSP.  The man the trooper was chasing was arrested, but we have n...

  • After Nearly 200 Geese Euthanized, Lexington Company Shares Organic, Non-Harmful Solution

    After Nearly 200 Geese Euthanized, Lexington Company Shares Organic, Non-Harmful Solution

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 7:38 PM EDT2018-07-18 23:38:17 GMT

    JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Jessamine County Cemetery said that they had to euthanize nearly 200 geese on their property. Now, a Lexington landscaping company said that they have a new solution to get rid of geese in an organic and non-harmful way.

    JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Jessamine County Cemetery said that they had to euthanize nearly 200 geese on their property. Now, a Lexington landscaping company said that they have a new solution to get rid of geese in an organic and non-harmful way.

Powered by Frankly

© LEX18.com 2018, LEX18.com
A CORDILLERA COMMUNICATIONS Station
All rights reserved
Privacy Policy, | Terms of Service, and Ad Choices

Can't find something?