WYOMING COUNTY, W.Va. — A Wyoming County coal mine has exposed miners to black lung and explosion hazards according to the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.

MSHA announced Monday it had recently cited Rhino Eastern’s Eagle Mine 3 with 38 violations, including seven closure orders for ventilation violations.

“The alarming conditions found at Eagle Mine 3 show that common-sense practices to prevent black lung, mine explosions and other hazards were ignored,” said MSHA chief Joseph A. Main in a news release announcing the violations. “There is absolutely no excuse for allowing such dangerous conditions to exist, and miners deserve better.”

MSHA inspectors conducted the impact inspection on June 24. The group arrived at Eagle 3, took over the mine’s phone system to underground sections of the mine, and began its review of the operation. MSHA said the team “determined that the mine operator failed to follow approved ventilation, methane and dust control plans in several locations of the underground mine.”

New federal mine safety dust regulations take effect Aug. 1.

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Comments

  • DC

    Stories written in this manner are done so with such a one sided approach its not really much of a story unless you are not knowledgable of mining violations. The only true fact is that 38 violations were written. That, in itself, is alot of violations.However, there will not be a follow up story to show if any of the violations were defeted in a court process. An even bigger issue is the detail of the violation. I am not saying which section of law was the violation written, you can find that information. I am saying what was the true condition. Let me give you an example, if you were cited for "failure to correct a defect of safety before placing the equipment into service" you might think that was terrrible or that Safety was sacrificed for production. Then you read the violation and see that one of six forward facing headlights did not work. In this case you see the fancy section of law and the detail surrounding the citation. What would your thought be then? All i am saying is that without the detail of the violation, in this case each violation, one can not form a strong or proper opinion regarding union-non union, MSHA Inspectors, mining conditions, miners, company or anything else. The press release is one sided, completely. More concerning is we accept it as the entire truth and yet so much more detail is out there.

  • Jason412

    Funny how an article about miner's lives being put in harm's way every day has 18 comments in over 24 hours. If Metronews had posted the same miner's are having their jobs threatened by the EPA it would've had 50 comments in the first few hours.

    • Mburg

      The Obama badgers - so called West Virginia Democrats - would be out in force. Fox news has not taken a position on the issue yet and neither has Rush so many of these people don't know what to think or say.

      • Shadow

        Was it a union or non-union mine? With MSHA doing the inspection, my guess it was a non-union mine as MSHA is owned and run by the union. My other question is: Is every MHSA inspector partnered with a company rep when the "violation" is noted? I believe nothing that this government does or says. The lying starts at the top and goes far down.
        PS: I haven't heard this on Fox and I don't need their news to be able to tell when the President and Harry Reid are lying.

  • Mike dineen

    That's just normal for a non union shop

  • Jim

    By the way Rhino Eastern is a non-union mine. I wouldn't think the miners there have much of a say so about their safety.

    • Richard

      In the past year union mines have had more deaths and serious injuries than non union mines. So is the union really looking out for the miners?

      • Mburg

        So I guess it's not the government - it's the unions? Your argument is so foolish and full of flaws that it really does not deserve a response; nevertheless, I cannot resist. The conservatives have weaken unions to a point where they are barely worth the cost.Real unions with teeth are necessary but what we have today are shadows of what unions use to be thanks to the great Mr. Regan. Even then, this is not a union vs. non-union mine issue. This is a mine that puts it's employees in a poor environment - knowingly - and will probably not pay a price because everyone in West Virginia is a Friend of Coal. The entire state is dependent on a s dinosaur that we refuse to let go and diversity. Coal is necessary now but other industries should be cultivated so that works in these areas have choices. Feeding one's family and getting black lung disease should not be they only choice they have?

  • Dumb Liberals

    MSHA gotta make those last few dollars before the Gestapo closes all the mines and puts MSHA inspectors out of jobs. I'm sure those union miners had nothing to do with failing to perform their required duties either in that mine. Unemployment is on the horizon for the UMWA and its minions.

    • Mike dineen

      Dumb liberals oh man you have swallowed the BS hook line and sinker

  • if it smells like it, it prob is

    A big "Thank you" to MSHA chief Joseph A. Main, and his colleagues, for looking out for miners safety.

    Coal companies are about profit. That is their agenda, always was and always will be. They close mines when they are unprofitable. Period. Was a time people understood that. The operators have done a great propaganda campaign making unions and regulation the enemy. Every once in a while the truth gets out.

    This one will soon be forgotten and the company propaganda machine will drown it out it with the usual EPA/Obama hogwash.

    • Shadow

      Would you please identify and name any organization other that the Government that can operate without making money over a period of years?

  • Mburg

    Friends of Coal. I am waiting for them to get on here and tell us that the federal government should mind their own business and that it is Obama's fault that the coal minors might get black lung disease. Usually there is a high school dropout scientist who starts whining about what's wrong with the tests the feds performed - just wait...

    • Richard

      @mburg you wont find anyone defending this mine but do some research and you will find that in the past year union mines are more likely to have a death and serious injury.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Who needs the federal government involved in worker protection? We can completely trust the coal companies.

    • Tony

      I personally do not know of a single person advocating your allegation.

      • Mason County Contrarian

        Allegations? I didn't accuse anyone of anything, Tony.

        I was merely pointing how BADLY we need federal oversight of the workplace.

        Like other posters, I am waiting for someone to find a way to blame The White House.

        • Shadow

          What makes you so sure that the Feds have inspectors that are more capable than the people that are doing the job at identifying safety issues? It seems to me that if I was working at a dangerous job, I would surely learn and understand the potential problems and avoid them, even it meant quitting..... No one goes into a mine with a gun in their back in this Country, it is free will.

        • Aaron

          I don't blame the White House but I do wonder, as MSHA inspections are supposed to be frequent at operating mines, how did this mine get so bad so fast?

          • Jason412

            Aaron,

            I did a good bit of browsing on the MSHA site and could not find anything that required quarterly inspection. 4 times a year, with no set amount of days in between, is the only thing I found.

            Every 90 days would be the optimal schedule, but I'd guess that is rarely the actualities of it, unless it is in fact required and I'm overlooking it.

            If 4 times a year, with no set days in between, is what's required I'd guess they probably go 6+ months some times in between inspections.

          • Aaron

            Every 90 days would be four times a year. If I get the chance, there's language somewhere on MSHA's site that sets guidelines at quarterly inspections. Also if I'm not mistaken failed inspections trigger more frequent inspections. As such how does a mine get as bad as described? Are there other violations that are not being reported?

          • Jason412

            Aaron,

            "MSHA inspectors are required by law to inspect every surface mine in the nation at least two times per year and every underground mine must be inspected four times per year."

            http://www.msha.gov/NewMine/NewMine.asp

            Seems to me there is no set amount of days. If they did 4 inspections in 1 month, or 2 at the beginning of the year and 2 at the end of the year, or whatever scenario you can think of that involves 4 inspections a year, they would still be following the law.

          • Aaron

            Sorry dude, I'm not buying it. MSHA is required to inspect operating mines on a pretty frequent basis. I can find the exact language if you need it but I'm thinking it's at least once every 60 or 90 days. As such, conditions should never get this bad if inspections are in accordance with the law. The only reason I can think of is that somehow the company learned when inspections were and as such, was able to 'tidy' up before the inspections but for that to happen, an MSHA employee would have to somehow be involved, wouldn't you agree!!!

            At any rate, the feds are not "helping" as you inaccurately state, they are doing their job. My question is, why weren't they doing it sooner.

          • Mburg

            Aaron - I am not diverting. I am simply making a point that the general position on this site is "it's Obama's fault" "we don't want the feds in our business" etc. I am truly trying to understand why the feds are busy trying to help people who "don't want the feds in our business" If the people cooperated with the government it would not take as much times to discover these messes. However, when the owners of the coal mining companies are able to convince the workers and the local government that the feds are out to get them - feds are the buggy men - then you have the very people the feds are trying to help going against the feds - foolish. But, it is what it is. I don't believe this is the feds moving slow issue. The Republicans have cut the staff and resources of these agencies so much that it is a wonder they are able to do anything at all. You want speedy investigations then we need to provide the staff and resources. I have a much better idea - get rid of the government inspectors and let the miners police themselves. They are private industry and will do a more efficient and effective job?

          • Aaron

            Do you understand that MSHA stands for the Mine Safety and Health Administration and that their job is oversight of the mining industry? Is there a reason you keep diverting from a legitimate question and wish to excuse MSHA inspectors?

          • Mburg

            It appears to me that the coal miners and the people who works for them are always bad mouthing the federal government. It amazes me that the feds would spend one penny investigating anything related to coal mining. The people who works in the mines do not appreciate it. Most of them are probably upset with the findings and are angry at the government and not their employers for putting them in a situation that is entirely avoidable. I am very sad for them because they are stuck between a rock and a hard place - created by their own hands.

          • Aaron

            I'm not bashing the feds, I ask simple question. You may not like it or agree but it is a legitimate question given the failures of MSHA in previous tragedies. If I recall correctly (and we all know I do) Robert C. Byrd raked Joe Main over the proverbial coals for MSHA's failures leading up to the UBB tragedy.

            So again, given the short history in recent coal mining disasters, why did MSHA allow conditions to get as bad as they were at an operating mine in which they have oversight responsibility?

          • Mburg

            Aaron - you guys spend most of your time bashing the feds. Instead of thanking God that they discovered these issues before they get worse you jumped to what took them so long? The fools who work inthe mines - including unuion workers - don't want the inspections. They would rather make the money now and worry about black lung later. Many of them are probably upset with the feds for making the discovery.