Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Signs Mine Safety Emergency Regulations

Press Release Date:  Monday, July 10, 2006  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Mark York

Civil penalties proposed for violations

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher has signed two emergency regulations for the assessment of monetary penalties against companies that violate mine safety regulations.

The regulations, which take effect July 12, correspond with the passage of Senate Bill 200 and House Bill 572 passed by the 2006 General Assembly. SB 200, sponsored by Senator Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) and Senator Ray Jones (D-Pikeville) contains increased mine safety standards and HB 572, sponsored by Representative Robin Webb (D-Grayson) requires drug testing of miners.

“The regulations are another critical step for improving mine safety in the state,” said Governor Fletcher. “No miner should be placed in danger of injury or death and for the first time we can assess penalties that should serve as a deterrent to those who would violate mine roof control or ventilation plans.”

The Mine Safety Review Commission (MSRC), under the regulations, could revoke a mine license permanently if the violation of any mine safety law causes the death of a miner. The commission can also assess a civil penalty equal to the gross value of 10 days of coal production at the mine.

MSRC may revoke, suspend or probate a mine license for failure to comply with reporting requirements for mine accidents. A civil penalty, from $10,000 to $100,000 can be levied using a point system based on evidence produced by the Office of Mine Safety and Licensing.

The second regulation creates an administrative appeals process for drug and alcohol violations and penalties assessed for violations of mine safety laws. A miner can be denied certification or have their certification suspended by the Department for Natural Resources if drug and alcohol testing indicates substance abuse on the job.