Coal Mines

News & Analysis as of

EPA Has a Nondiscretionary Duty to Review West Virginia’s Failure to Submit TMDLs

Acting in response to state legislation, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection ceased work on promulgation of total maximum daily loads related to ionic toxicity. Ionic toxicity is a consequence of...more

Sixth Circuit Rejects MSHA’s Claims That It Has Jurisdiction Over Coal Mining Machine Shop

In a case argued on February 1, 2017 and decided on February 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that Maxxim Rebuild Co., LLC’s small manufacturing facility located in Sidney, Kentucky is not a “coal...more

Coal Plant Shutdown: Owners and Operators Need Vision – Part I

PDF Version Coal plant owners and operators can make a plant shutdown easier by planning now for the site’s future. This plan, or Vision, can help expedite shutdown efforts, reduce costs, improve relations with the local...more

Utilizing the Congressional Review Act, Congress Moves Quickly to Repeal Numerous Obama-era Environmental Regulations

On Feb 2nd, for the second time in as many weeks, the U.S. Senate, invoking the Congressional Review Act (CRA), voted to repeal (i.e. “disapprove”) the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Office of Surface Mining and...more

[Webinar] MSHA 101: Understanding The Mine Act and MSHA Policy - February 14th, 1:00pm EST

The Mine Act of 1977 governs all mine operators and grants MSHA authority over the industry. It, along with the MINER Act of 2006, also specifically outline the rights of miners and operators. Yet, while the Mine Act directs...more

Fourth Circuit Upholds Criminal Conviction For “Reckless Disregard” of Mine Safety Laws

On January 19, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the criminal conviction of Donald Blankenship, the former Chairman and CEO of Massey Energy Company (MEC), the operator of the Upper Big Branch Coal Mine...more

Mach Mining and Affiliated Companies to Pay $4.25 Million to Settle EEOC Sex Discrimination Suits

Federal Agency Alleged Foresight Energy Companies Discriminated Against Women in Hiring for Mining and Related Positions - CHICAGO -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) announced today that it has resolved two...more

[Webinar] 2017 MSHA Enforcement Initiatives and Rulemaking Outlook - Jan. 26th, 1:00pm EST

As we begin a new calendar year and look ahead to a new administration, industry should continue to stay informed as to MSHA’s regulatory agenda and enforcement initiatives. While MSHA will soon have new decision makers in...more

[Webinar] MSHA Hazard Complaints and Whistleblower Protections: Working Through Complaint Investigation - Dec. 15th, 1:00pm EST

Regular MSHA inspections (aka E01 inspections) are commonplace for mines – an average of two to four inspections per year for surface and underground operations respectively. Yet, MSHA has in its arsenal a host of other...more

Mine Safety Agency Issues Electrical Safety Alert

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued an electrical safety alert after several miners were injured in underground coalmine accidents. In one incident, a miner working near a 480 VAC scoop charger circuit...more

What Now? U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Post-Election Outlook

Seyfarth Synopsis: With a dramatic change from a progressive democratic to a conservative republican administration, we anticipate that EPA is not only likely to pivot away from an enforcement heavy to a more business...more

Environmental Notes - November 2016

EPA has revised its procedures for making certain changes to its “Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste, Physical/Chemical Methods,” also known as SW-846. The test method and its compendium of guidance documents provide...more

[Webinar] Navigating Multi-Employer Mine Sites Liability and Enforcement - November 15th, 1:00p.m. EST

Independent contractors are a vital element to the mining industry. Mine operators call upon their expertise daily at mines around the country. But what happens when an independent contractor arrives at your mine site? This...more

41% Increase in Citations to Mine Operators

Special impact inspections in July that covered 13 states resulted in 161 citations, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has announced. This is a 41-percent increase from the 114 citations issued the previous month....more

A Lumber Mill Biomass CoGen Need Not Consider Other Fuels In Its BACT Analysis. Other Sources Should Be So Lucky.

Ever since EPA began considering how BACT analysis would be applied to greenhouse gas emissions, there has been concern that EPA would use its BACT authority to “redefine the source” – with the particular concern that BACT...more

Coal Plant Shutdowns: Operators Have Cyber Protection Obligations Even After Closing

As Yogi Berra used to say: “It ain’t over till it’s over.” Coal plant operators shutting down their plants should remember this phrase. Even after they throw the breakers, go off the grid, are no longer contributing to the...more

Respirable Coal Dust Samples Prove New Dust Rule Is Achievable, Mine Safety Agency Announces

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has announced that 99 percent of the coal mine dust samples collected from April 1, 2016, through June 30, 2016, were in compliance with its coal mine dust standards requiring lower...more

Unsecured Creditor Perspectives in Energy Restructurings

This Practice Note provides guidance and advice to unsecured creditors in energy restructurings. This Note specifically addresses restructurings in the oil, gas, and coal industries and the strategies that unsecured creditors...more

SC Public Policy Update - April 2016 #5

What's New - SENATE - The Senate had a very active week of floor debate as members worked through the calendar in an attempt to send bills to the House of Representatives before the May 1st crossover deadline. The...more

Elevated Fine Lacks Justification, Mine Safety Agency Attorney Concedes

A government attorney agreed with opposing counsel that the Mine Safety and Health Administration had not justified a proposed 127 percent increase in fines against an Illinois coal operator. The two sides disagreed, however,...more

U.S. Supreme Court Steers Clear of Two Eminent Domain Cases

In the last month, the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear appeals on two eminent domain-related cases. The first case, California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose, is one we discussed last year....more

Congressional Challenges Loom for Clean Power Plan Final Rule

Before the end of the year, federal lawmakers are expected to undertake a series of actions to limit, amend, delay or repeal President Obama's Clean Power Plan (CPP) final rule. The final rule was formally published on Oct....more

Proposed Rule from US Department of the Interior Increases Pressure on Coal Mining Industry

On July 27, 2015, the US Department of the Interior, through its Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), proposed to revise regulations adopted under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of...more

Here We Go Again—The Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act

For the fourth time since the Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion in April 2010, a Congressional bill proposes to further amend the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. The Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act...more

Pennsylvania Bill Promotes Using Mine Water in Hydraulic Fracturing Operations

The process of hydraulic fracturing requires millions of gallons of water. Currently, much of this water is pulled from freshwater sources; however, a recent bill in Pennsylvania making its way through the state legislature...more

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