CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Massey Energy received far more citations and fines from federal mine safety officials during the second quarter of the year than other publicly traded coal companies, according to new reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Massey was fined more than $4 million and cited for more than 1,200 violations by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration during the period from April through June, according to the company's filings.
No other coal producer was fined more than $1 million during the same period, according to an analysis of the SEC filings by firm SNL Energy.
Under the new financial markets reform bill, coal operators are now required to report quarterly to the SEC and their stockholders about significant safety violations and fines issued by MSHA. The language was added to the law by the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va.
SNL Energy said that the first round of SEC filings showed "that Massey topped the list in virtually every category.
"In addition to being assessed more than four times more fines than any other public coal company, Massey was cited for the highest number of significant violations ..." SNL's report said.
Companies with the second and third largest number of citations were Peabody Energy Corp and CONSOL Energy Inc., which received 705 and 546, respectively, during the quarter.
SNL Energy said a "mitigating factor" for Massey is that it operates the largest number of coal mines of any U.S. public sector producer, and many of those operations are underground mines in Appalachia "where more complex mining with larger work forces tend to occur, often resulting in more safety violations than a large-scale surface mine in the western United States."
The firm also noted that Massey has been under additional scrutiny following the April 5 explosion that killed 29 workers at its Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County.