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Companies owned by Justice family sue Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Coal News - Published on Fri, 24 May 2019

Image Source: OSMRE
WV News reported that WV governor Jim Justice's family companies have filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. The lawsuit against the OSMRE comes after a lawsuit filed by the Mine Safety Health Administration against Justice's companies for USD 4.8 million in unpaid mine safety penalties. The lawsuit claims that Justice's companies believed they had reached an agreement with OSMRE to resolve the penalties, and that the government backed out of the deal. The lawsuit says that Jay Justice along with another official from Justice Mining Entities met with OSMRE officials and came to an agreement that the penalties would be reduced if the companies did reclamation work.

After John Austin, a field solicitor for the DOI, asked for collateral or a guarantee from the companies, Michael Castle, a OSMRE official, told them that collateral was not required, according to the lawsuit.

Following the meeting, MSHA sued the Justice coal companies, and Austin told a Justice Mining Entities lawyer that the OSMRE did not have the authority to enter into settlement agreements. Lawyers for Justice's companies filed the lawsuit two days later in US District Court for the Western District of Virginia, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports.

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Posted By : Sanju Moirangthem on Fri, 24 May 2019
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