Several of them also certified dust readings submitted to the

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Coal Company Officials Indicted For Allegedly Hiding Risk Of Black Lung Disease

canada goose coats Eight former supervisors and safety officials for Kentucky coal mines were indicted Wednesday on charges that they lied to or misled federal regulators about the amount of harmful coal dust workers were exposed to. attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, said that officials at now defunct Armstrong Coal routinely submitted phony records to the Mine Safety canada goose outlet toronto address and Health Administration in an effort to downplay the amount of coal dust in canada goose outlet in chicago two of its mines. By doing so, the company would have concealed the true risk of its miners developing pneumoconiosis, better known as black lung disease. canada goose coats

At the time, miners at the company’s Parkway Mine in Muhlenberg County went on record saying they’d been pressured by management to canada goose outlet ontario register artificially low readings on their dust pumps, devices that miners wear to measure coal dust in a mine’s atmosphere. They typically accomplished that by wearing their dust pumps for only a fraction of their shift, thereby collecting a misleadingly low amount.

The indictment issued Wednesday makes the same allegations, canada goose outlet location calling it a conspiracy to “conceal from MSHA the ongoing, systemic and pervasive violation of mandatory health and safety standards.”

canada goose black friday sale The defendants allegedly ordered employees at Parkway Mine and Kronos Mine to remove their dust pumps and put them in clean air when the mines were especially dusty. Several of them also certified dust readings submitted to the government that they knew were wrong. canada goose black friday sale

Canada Goose Coats On Sale “It’s rare, first of all, canada goose outlet store uk to have any indictment over mine safety,” said Oppegard. “It’s even rarer to have them over health conditions, and to have that many people indicted.” Canada Goose Coats On Sale

buy canada goose jacket cheap The indictment alleges that Charley Barber, the former superintendent of Parkway, told a co conspirator to do whatever was necessary to “make the pumps come in” that is, come in with acceptable coal dust readings. The others named in the indictment are Brian Keith Casebier, Steve DeMoss, Billie Hearld, Ron Ivy, John Ellis Scott, Dwight Fulkerson and Jeremy Hackney. buy canada goose jacket cheap

buy canada goose jacket Under mine safety law, coal operators are required to keep their coal dust levels in check. The acceptable standard used to be 2.0 milligrams per cubic meter of air; that was recently lowered to 1.5 milligrams, to better protect miners from black lung. buy canada goose jacket

There are ways that canada goose outlet edmonton operators can mitigate the coal dust, particularly by better ventilating the mine, but many of canada goose outlet nyc them are reluctant to slow down or stop production in order to take the proper steps. Miners who are uncomfortable with dust canada goose outlet woodbury fraud are often afraid to report it for fear of losing their jobs or even being blackballed at other mines in the area.

But at Parkway, a handful of brave miners were willing to canada goose outlet usa speak up about what they believed to be a dangerous practice.

cheap canada goose uk Interviewed by HuffPost in 2014, Parkway miner Justin Greenwell said submitting false dust readings to MSHA was routine. Though only 29 years old at the time, he was already experiencing shortness of breath that he blamed on the mine’s dust. “It’s been going on since I started there,” he said at the time. “All these guys in management, they know it’s wrong. But they don’t care about our health.” cheap canada goose uk

Another miner, Mike “Flip” Wilson, became an outspoken critic of juking the dust numbers. He was already in the first stage of black lung disease in 2014 and felt he had less to lose by taking a stand. “There’s been cheating ever since I’ve been there,” he told HuffPost at the time. Wilson retired in 2015 but was so passionate about the issue that he volunteered as a miner representative at Parkway. That entitled him to return to the mine to make sure the proper safety precautions were being taken.

canadian goose jacket Armstrong Coal was not charged with a crime, and neither were any of its executives. The company’s corporate parent, St. Louis based Armstrong Energy, declared bankruptcy last year, and parts of its cheap canada goose operation were scooped up by Murray Energy, the coal giant run by CEO Bob Murray. canadian goose jacket

Canada Goose online While indictments for dust fraud are uncommon, the practice itself is widespread in the coal industry. In 1998, the Louisville Courier Journal published a deep investigation detailing how mines fake their coal dust numbers, sticking monitors in lunchboxes or placing them near clean air intakes. A 2012 investigation by the Center for Public Integrity showed that prosecutions for dust fraud virtually stopped after 2002. Canada Goose online

Canada Goose Online Oppegard said he found the indictments announced Wednesday encouraging. Canada Goose Online

“This is a widespread practice; it’s certainly not confined to Armstrong Coal Company,” he said. “I think it does send a message to all operators and all employees who are responsible for conducting the dust sampling at their mines: They better not falsify those records or submit bogus samples.”.