Pennsylvania Mining Firm Fined $900K Over Deadly Explosion

August 15, 2011

An administrative judge has ordered a small Pennsylvania mining company to pay $900,000 in fines related to the 2006 explosion that killed a miner and resulted in criminal charges against three others, a newspaper reported Friday.

Federal officials say the Department of Labor fines against R&D Coal Co. are part of a settlement order signed August 1 by an administrative law judge, The Pottsville Republican and Herald reported.

The judgment stems from the October 23, 2006 methane explosion at Buck Mountain Mine in Schuylkill County that killed miner Dale Reightler.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration determined Reightler was killed when methane exploded in an inadequately ventilated area. The administration determined six of the 10 violations related to Reightler’s death were “flagrant.”

“Mine operators must be held accountable for their failure to keep miners safe,” Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, said.

An attorney for R&D Coal said no appeal was planned and declined to discuss the case further.

One of the mine’s owners and his son pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter charges in Reightler’s death. A third man pleaded guilty to blasting without a mining certificate.

A second mine owner committed suicide in 2007.

The Buck Mountain Mine has been permanently closed

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