Mine Safety - Getting the Shaft (2/21/06) - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Mine Safety - Getting the Shaft (2/21/06)


A coal mine operator in Eastern Kentucky named Harold Simpson owes over $800,000 in fines for violations of federal safety regulations. But he won't pay.

Now this isn't one fine for a recent violation that's being appealed. It's the sum total of fines for over 2,300 separate violations since 1995.

But wait - it gets better. The Department of Labor assures us the Mine Safety and Health Administration still hopes to collect the fines by "using the same novel legal approach recently used in another case."

You want a novel legal approach? Here's mine:

Throw this joker in jail until he finds his wallet. Period. That's the way it would work with you or me - and it wouldn't take eleven years or 2,300 second chances.

Look, either the MSHA is the world's most incompetent regulatory agency, or someone on the inside has been enabling this arrogant deadbeat.

So first, someone at the federal level needs to bring the hammer down on Mr. Simpson, once and for all.

And then, someone needs to take a hard look at MSHA's enforcement policies. Because any agency with the backing of the federal government that can't collect a debt like this has some explaining to do.

I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my Point of View.

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