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Gov. Beshear on Quest Energy: 'This should not happen again'

Posted at 5:10 PM, Jan 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-15 18:52:41-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18)  — As some miners in Pike County protest for their paychecks, they are receiving support from the Governor's Office.

"This is not acceptable," said Governor Andy Beshear.

The miners who work for Quest Energy say they have not gotten paid in three weeks. Quest Energy's parent company disputes that claim and accused the miners of "spreading lies."

However, Beshear's administration has taken action against the company.

"We issued a mine closure order, where the mines that those companies are operating are closed as of yesterday morning," said Beshear. "They cannot do business until they pay those miners."

Beshear promised to use "every single bit of power of state government" to make sure the miners receive their paychecks. That includes filing a complaint with the Mine Safety Review Commission and going to court, if necessary.

"We're going to take them to Circuit Court if they don't release every record we need," said Beshear.

Even if the miners get paid, Beshear said he's not stopping there. He promised to get rid of any loopholes that allow mining companies to not put up required bonds. Those bonds cover workers' pay, which ensures miners don't lose out on a paycheck.

"Moving forward - no more of these shell games, where one company owns a mine and another company employs the workers, where they try to get around these bonds," said Beshear. "We're going to go back and review every single mining operation to ensure that if one of those bonds is owed, that it is collected, and no one has figured out a way to get around it. This should not happen again."