"MSHA Settles 'Unprecedented' Suit Against Massey"

"Federal mine safety regulators reached an 11th-hour settlement Wednesday with Massey Energy that ends what the Obama administration had touted as a landmark suit to shut down an underground coal mine that government inspectors said posed a continuing hazard to workers.

Massey had announced a month after the suit was filed that it would voluntarily close its Freedom Energy No. 1 Mine in Pike County, Ky., and Wednesday's settlement spells out steps the company must follow to do so safely.

Officials from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration and the Labor Department touted the deal as a major victory for their agencies and for the safety of Massey miners who continue working to shut down and seal the operation.

The case was the first time that MSHA used its 33-year-old authority to seek a federal court injunction against a mine that federal inspectors said posed a continuing hazard to the health and safety of miners."

Ken Ward Jr. reports for the Charleston Gazette January 5, 2011.

Source: Charleston Gazette, 01/06/2011