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December 10, 2012
Mine exec agrees to guilty plea in fed investigation

Longtime Massey Energy Company executive David Hughart has been charged with conspiring to impede the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and conspiring to violate mine health and safety laws.

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According to U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, Hughart and others at Massey conspired to break the law and then conceal those violations by warning mining operations when MSHA inspectors were coming. The case stems from the 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine that killed 29 miners.

The U.S. Department of Justice claims that such illegal actions occurred at other Massey mines and spanned a period from 2000 through 2010.

“Miners deserve a safe place to earn a living,” said Goodwin. “Some mine officials, unfortunately, seem to believe health and safety laws are optional. That attitude has no place in the mining industry or any industry.” He said the charges reinforce that urgent message.

The investigation was conducted jointly by the FBI, Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division. The Justice Department says that Alpha Natural Resources Inc., which acquired Massey’s operations in a 2011 merger, is cooperating with the investigation.

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