Settlement reached between U.S. and two dozen coal companies

In this Aug. 31, 2016 photo, a coal mine owned by West Virginia gubernatorial candidate Jim Justice sits idle near Hindman, Ky. Justice's coal companies owe millions in taxes to several Kentucky counties amid a decline in coal production. (AP Photo/Dylan Lovan)
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) -- The United States and 24 coal companies operating in five states have reached a settlement for violating the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act.

The companies will pay the United States $5 million for the unpaid penalties.

Those companies include Southern Coal Corporation, Justice Coal of Alabama, A&G Coal Corporation, Black River Coal, Chestnut Land Holdings, Double Bonus Coal Company, Dynamic Energy, Four Star Resources, Frontier Coal Company, Infinity Energy, Justice Energy Company, Justice Highwall Mining, Kentucky Fuel Corporation, Keystone Service Industries, M&P Services, Nine Mile Mining, Nufac Mining Company, Pay Car Mining; Premium Coal Company, S and H Mining, Sequoia Energy, Tams Management and Virginia Fuel Corporation.

A civil complaint says the Mine Safety and Health Administration issued 2,297 citations to the companies for violations of the act.

A release from the Department of Justice says the companies refused to pay the penalties, so the civil complaint was filed on May 7, 2019.

Wednesday, 23 of the companies agreed to pay the full penalties plus interest, in all totaling $4,065,578.29. Bluestone Coal Corporation will pay an additional $1,064,547.18 to get current on their other unpaid penalties that were not included in the May 2019 complaint.

“Thanks to the hard work and persistence of career attorneys from our civil division and the MSHA, the 24 Justice entities have agreed to pay, in full, all outstanding debts and penalties associated with their mine-safety violations,” U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen said in a statement.

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