West Virginia Coal Mine Settles for $210M in Disaster

Agreement allows for individual criminal prosecutions

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Dec 6, 2011 9:56 AM CST

(Newser) – The owner of a West Virginia coal mine where an explosion killed 29 men will pay nearly $210 million in a historic settlement arising from the worst US coal mining disaster in decades. An attorney with knowledge of the Upper Big Branch settlement provided details to the AP. The agreement includes more than $46 million in criminal restitution to the miners' families. It also allows for individual criminal prosecutions.

Massey Energy owned the mine at the time of the April 2010 disaster. Alpha Natural Resources has since acquired Massey. The settlement includes $35 million in penalties for all Massey mine violations, including $11 million for Upper Big Branch.

Community members gather at New Life Assembly Church in Whitesville, W.Va., near Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Coal Mine in Montcoal, W.Va. after an explosion rocked the remote coal mine.
Community members gather at New Life Assembly Church in Whitesville, W.Va., near Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Coal Mine in Montcoal, W.Va. after an explosion rocked the remote coal mine.   (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner, File)
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