WV Coal Mine Owner To Pay $210 Mil Settlement For Disaster

By
Associated Press

Dateline
Updated Tue, Dec 6, 2011 10:50 am

Update 10:46 a.m. The owner of a West Virginia coal mine where an explosion killed 29 men will pay nearly $210 million in a historic settlement arising from the worst U.S. coal mining disaster in decades.

An attorney with knowledge of the Upper Big Branch settlement provided details today to The Associated Press. The agreement includes more than $46 million in criminal restitution to the miners' families. It also allows for individual criminal prosecutions.
 
The person was not authorized to talk about the details before an official announcement and asked for anonymity.
 
Massey Energy owned the mine at the time of the April 2010 disaster. Alpha Natural Resources has since acquired Massey. The settlement includes $35 million in penalties for all Massey mine violations, including $11 million for Upper Big Branch.

The families of 29 men killed in an explosion at a Massey Energy coal mine in West Virginia, including the family of a Meigs County man, face what could be a pivotal day.

Federal prosecutors are holding a teleconference this morning to discuss what they call "significant developments" in the criminal investigation.

At noon in Beaver, the Mine Safety and Health Administration will give them the agency's final report on the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in decades.

Meigs County man Joshua Napper, 25, was killed in the blast.

Napper was a 2002 graduate of Meigs High School.

Gary Quarles says he's hoping for criminal prosecutions because someone should pay for what happened last year.

Quarles knew the mine where his son Gary Wayne worked was dangerous. But previous reports from MSHA, independent investigators and the United Mine Workers show conditions were worse than he'd thought.

Investigators have long blamed methane, coal dust and broken or malfunctioning equipment for the blast.

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