Tulsa-Based Alliance Subsidiary Cited For Kentucky Mine Accident

Wednesday, July 7th 2010, 9:33 pm
By: News On 6

NewsOn6.com & The Associated Press 

LOUISVILLE, KY -- A Tulsa company that operates a coal mine in Kentucky has been cited for violations after the roof of the mine collapsed in April.

Two workers were killed. Webster County Coal is a subsidiary of Tulsa-based Alliance Resource Partners.

State officials say they were in violation of state laws that require companies to have adequate roof control plans in underground mines.

"It is our belief that the plan in place was inadequate," Kentucky Energy and Environment Secretary Len Peters said in a statement. "Our agency will aggressively pursue a course of enforcement and inspection to prevent any further accidents or fatalities in Kentucky mines."

In a press release Thursday, Alliance Resource Partners announced that Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing and the Mine Safety and Health Administration's final report notes that the accident was a result of "unpredictable and unforeseeable geologic conditions that were highly unusual."

The accident claimed the lives of two Dotiki miners, Justin Travis and Michael Carter.

"Although the occurrence of the roof fall necessitated the issuance of a Notice of Non-Compliance, the OMSL report also confirmed that at the time of the accident the Dotiki mine was operating in full compliance with the roof control plan approved by OMSL and the MSHA," the release states.

"In addition, the report noted OMSL's approval of the voluntary modifications to the Dotiki roof control plan implemented by Webster County Coal immediately following the accident."

Charlie Wesley, Webster Coal's executive vice president, did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday.

Wesley told The Associated Press in May that the collapse was a "terrible accident." He said a small fault in the area where the collapse occurred had not been detected by workers who were securing the overhead rock with roof bolts.

Investigators said Wednesday they would refer the report's findings to the state's Mine Safety Review Commission, which could choose to impose fines on Webster County Coal.

The accident claimed the lives of two Dotiki miners, Justin Travis and Michael Carter.