WASHINGTON - Murray Energy subsidiary Andalex Resources, Inc. has received a $420,300 citation from the Mine Safety and Health Administration for "flagrant" fire and explosion safety violations at the Aberdeen Mine in Price, MSHA announced today.
"Mine operators that repeatedly violate mine safety standards must be held accountable for their actions," said Richard E. Stickler, acting assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health in a statement released today.
MSHA assessed a $220,000 citation, issued Oct. 26, 2006, and another on June 20, 2007 at $200,300. MSHA said they were "flagrant violations" under the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act based on Robert Murray's repeated violation of the same safety standard. Murray controls Andalex Resources Inc., which operates the mine.
MSHA said the mine had "excessive accumulations of hydraulic oil, and fine coal particles covered the hoses, electric conduit and tram motors on electric equipment."
Murray also "allowed excessive accumulations of potentially explosive float coal dust and other combustible material to accumulate on a dangerously maintained conveyor belt," according to MSHA.
The government deems a violation "flagrant" when there is repeated failure to correct a known safety standard violation that could result in death or serious injury.
A message sent to Murray Energy today has not yet been returned.
Congress and MSHA continue to investigate the August accident at the Crandall Canyon Mine in Huntington. Murray has been subpoenaed to appear before a House and a Senate committee but it is not clear when he will appear or if he already has.
House Education and Labor Committee spokesman Aaron Albright said at this stage in the investigation, "the committee is not able to disclose whether specific individuals have appeared for depositions or have agreed to do so in the future."The primary reason is that we do not want such information, if made public, to prejudice our investigation or other investigations that might also be underway," Albright said. "We will conduct this investigation thoroughly, fairly, and expeditiously, and at its conclusion, we intend to make all pertinent information public."