coal mineA mining company fought the law and the law won recently, when the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky ordered the D & C Mining Corp. to pay the $1.67 million in safety fines it has so far failed to pay.

The penalties owed are for the 1,244 violations of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act the company earned between 2006 and 2012, along with interest and administrative costs.

The Labor Department has been trying to collect the fines in court since filing a complaint – through the U.S. Attorney’s Office – in March of last year.

In legalspeak, the recent court decision ordered the company to enjoin “from violating or failing or refusing to comply with any final orders issued under the Mine Act by failing to pay already delinquent or future civil money penalties.”

D & C Mining has undergone 10 impact inspections by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) since April 2010, more than any other mining operation in the country. The monthly inspections target mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to their poor compliance history or particular compliance concerns.

"Not only has this mine operator repeatedly disregarded health and safety standards and put its miners at tremendous risk, it has flouted any attempt by the federal government to collect penalties for violations that have been assessed," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "MSHA will continue to work with the Department of Justice to pursue mine operators that blatantly refuse to pay their penalties while continuing to operate."