CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- An Alpha Natural Resources contractor was sentenced Thursday to six months in prison after he admitted he lied to federal investigators about training practices at an Alpha mine in McDowell County.
Raymond C. Dawson, 57, of Raysal, was also sentenced to three years probation in connection with a federal probe at Alpha subsidiary Brooks Mining Co.'s Cucumber Mine, an underground operation that Alpha controlled before its June 2011 merger with Massey Energy.
U.S. District Judge Irene Berger sentenced Dawson during a hearing in Beckley, following Dawson's guilty plea in May to one felony charge of making a false statement to investigators from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.
"Keeping miners safe is and will continue to be a top priority of this office and we will continue to focus our resources on bringing to justice individuals who jeopardize that safety," said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.
Dawson had been certified by MSHA to provide certain training to miners at the Cucumber operation. A Brooks Run contractor, Griffith Construction Co., was using Dawson to provide training to its miners.
Dawson admitted that on or about Nov. 3, 2008, he falsely told government investigators that he always gave miners the required training and kept them in training classes for the required amount of time.
As recently as Oct. 18, 2008, Dawson had provided miners with incomplete training courses while meeting with the workers at his home, court records show. Dawson admitted to doing the same thing on at least two other instances during the period from August to October 2008.
In January 2007, a huge roof fall at the Cucumber Mine killed two miners, James David Thomas and Pete Poindexter. MSHA investigators later concluded that the miners died because the company ignored roof control requirements and did not train miners in proper roof control practices.