UPDATE: Fired Va. Coal Miners Win Case Against Mine Owner, Jim Justice

By: WSAZ News Staff, The Associated Press Email
By: WSAZ News Staff, The Associated Press Email

UPDATE 9/5/14
ABINGDON, Va. (AP) - A federal judge is siding with about 100 miners who say they were fired without first receiving a federally required 60 day warning.

According to media reports, U.S. District Judge James Jones ruled Thursday and said the miners are owed damages.

The workers challenged their May 2013 dismissals. They worked at Nine Mile Mining, a unit of Southern Coal Corp.

The mine is affiliated with James C. Justice Cos., owned by Appalachian coal billionaire Jim Justice.

Jones ordered attorneys to come up with a settlement amount to be paid to the ex-workers.

Last month, Justice reached a $1.5 million settlement with Kentucky officials over dozens of violations at several of his coal mines in eastern Kentucky.



UPDATE 9/4/14
ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - Police arrested five people after they hung a large banner in downtown Roanoke to protest West Virginia coal billionaire Jim Justice's mining operations.

The banner was strung between two buildings Thursday morning. Police Sgt. J.H. Bowdel says officers removed the protesters from the rooftops of the buildings. They will be charged with trespassing.

Bowdel says the protesters had book bags containing climbing equipment, including rope and safety vests.

The environmental groups Mountain Justice, Rising Tide North America and Radical Action for Mountain and People's Survival say in a news release that they hung the banner to protest the practices of Justice's mines.

Last month, Justice reached a $1.5 million settlement with Kentucky officials over dozens of violations at several of his coal mines in eastern Kentucky.



UPDATE 8/19/14 @ 3 p.m.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Billionaire Jim Justice has reached a $1.5 million settlement with Kentucky officials over dozens of reclamation violations at several of his coal mines in eastern Kentucky.

The agreement between Justice and the state's Department for Natural Resources is a reduction from the $4.5 million in outstanding penalties he owed for the violations.

Kentucky officials said the violations stemmed from the lack of post-mining restoration work required by law at Justice mines in eight counties.

Justice, who is worth about $1.6 billion according to Forbes.com, has idled several mines in eastern Kentucky and said his Appalachian mines are struggling to stay open due to poor market conditions.

The agreement also requires Justice to post millions in bond and complete the reclamation work by September 2015.



ORIGINAL STORY 7/31/14
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A West Virginia coal billionaire has more than 250 pending violations at mining operations in Kentucky and four other states.

The Courier-Journal cited data from the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement in reporting that almost half of the citations against mines owned by Jim Justice are located in Kentucky, where enforcement officials have set an Aug. 11 deadline to take corrective action.

Other violations are pending at operations in West Virginia, Tennessee, Virginia and Alabama.

Kentucky regulators threatened to suspend mining permits for Justice companies in June due to frustration over a slow response, but set the later date after the companies responded with a plan to take "serious actions."

Justice acknowledged the violations are significant, but he said all the issues will be corrected.


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