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MSHA News Release: [12/30/2008]
Contact: Amy Louviere
Phone: 202-693-9423
Release Number 08-1881-ATL


Kentucky mine operator agrees to pay more than $276,000 in delinquent penalties
Liggett Mining, LLC faced additional citations, withdrawal order


ARLINGTON, Va. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced that Liggett Mining Company, LLC, has agreed to pay $276,231.34 in past due penalties for Federal Mine Safety and Health Act violations found at its five underground coal mines in eastern Kentucky. This represents MSHA's biggest settlement since the agency began advising mine operators that they could be subject to mine closures if they incur delinquent civil penalties.

"Payment of penalties is an important incentive to improving safety in mines, and we will use every available tool we have to ensure that operators settle their debts," said Richard E. Stickler, acting assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. Failure to pay civil penalties violates section 110(j) of the Mine Act, resulting in the issuance of an additional citation and, if necessary, closure of the mine operation.

Liggett Mining had failed to pay fines on at least 300 citations dating back to March 2007 at its five mining operations, one of which has since closed and been abandoned. According to the settlement, Liggett Mining agreed to pay all of its delinquent penalties in six monthly installment amounts. The company paid an initial sum of $68,606.28, which will be followed by five monthly payments totaling $207,625.06. In addition, the company agreed to pay all future assessments that are not currently delinquent in a timely manner.

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