Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Source: W.Va. Mine Disaster Yields $210M Agreement

The West Virginia coal mine blast that killed 29 men has yielded a wide-ranging and historic $210 million settlement proposal to compensate victims' families, pay fines and improve underground safety in response to the worst U.S. coal mining disaster in decades, an attorney with knowledge of the settlement told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The agreement between federal authorities and the new owners of the Upper Big Branch mine includes $46.5 million in criminal restitution to the miners' families, $128 million to fund cutting-edge mine safety upgrades, research and training, and $35 million in penalties for federal mine safety violations. It also does not prevent the future prosecutions of individuals on criminal charges in the April 2010 blast.
The person was not authorized to talk about the details before an official announcement and asked for anonymity. U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, of West Virginia's southern federal court district, has scheduled a Tuesday morning press conference at the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse in Charleston.
The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, meanwhile, expected to brief the victims' families and then the media Tuesday on its final report from the disaster. Federal investigators have previously blamed the Raleigh County blast on a combination of methane gas, coal dust and broken or malfunctioning equipment in the underground mine.


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