Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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February 7, 2013

W.Va. mine agency revises proposed fine increases

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — State regulators have revised a proposed rule that would increase fines for mine safety and health violations.

The original proposal would have raised the civil penalties across the board. The revised rule filed Tuesday with the Secretary of State's office would limit the increases to fines of $500 or more.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's general counsel, Peter Markham, tells the Charleston Gazette (http://bit.ly/XP02b7 ) that the intent was to increase penalties for more serious violations, instead of those that are less serious.

The Legislature increased the maximum fine to $5,000 from $3,000 last year.

West Virginia Coal Association vice president Chris Hamilton told state officials that the legislation wasn't intended to raise fines across the board.

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