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7th Circuit declines to overturn mine’s fine for safety violation

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the petition for judicial review filed by a company that runs a southern Indiana mine, finding sufficient evidence supports fining the company for violating federal regulation requiring a protective mound along an elevated roadway.

Peabody Midwest Mining LLC asked the 7th Circuit to take a look at the order issued by an administrative law judge that fined the company $4,329. Inspectors went to Peabody’s Gibson County mine and found that “berms” – the protective mounds – were too low along certain roadways. At a follow-up visit, an inspector found no berms or inadequate berms along a “bench” – a ledge cut into the side of the pit. The ledge was created to move a dragline, a massive piece of excavating equipment.

The inspector cited the mine, concluding the berm violation was significant and substantial because the lack of a berm could result in a permanently disabling injury. During the move of the dragline, other vehicles traveled around the dragline, either moving the berm to allow the dragline to pass or smoothing out the land where the dragline had passed and rebuilding the berm. The concern was these vehicles were too close to an edge of the mine without a protective mound.

An administrative law judge upheld the decision, finding the bench to be a roadway even while the dragline was moving because other rubber-tired vehicles used the path. She also determined the remaining berms were not high enough and fined the company. Peabody petitioned for review by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, which sent the case back for further review to the ALJ. She again upheld her decision and the commission declined to review her order again.

The 7th Circuit also declined Tuesday to review the matter. The judges determined that substantial evidence supports the commission’s determination that the continuous use of the bench by service or haulage trucks left unchanged the status of the bench as a roadway, even during the dragline move. Peabody claimed the bench did not qualify as a roadway during the dragline’s move. The judges also found evidence to credit ALJ’s conclusion that the mine violated regulations by failing to maintain a berm on two-tenths of a mile of the bench, citing the testimony of the inspector.

The case is Peabody Midwest Mining LLC, formerly doing business as Black Beauty Coal Co. v. Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, and Secretary of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration, 13-1659.

 

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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