NEWS BRIEFS

Black Beauty Coal, EPA Reach Settlement

After being accused of working without proper permits in two Midwestern states, Evansville, Ind.-based Black Beauty Coal Co. agreed to pay $75,000 in fines and create a forested wetland in Indiana to improve water quality.

According to EPA, Black Beauty Coal Co. and its subsidiary, Arclar Co. of Equality, Ill., filled in streams and wetlands without a permit while mining in Indiana and Illinois. EPA alleged that over the last several years, the companies' operations adversely affected ditches, streams, creeks and wetlands near the mines.

Black Beauty Coal's parent company, Peabody Energy, agreed to the penalties but claimed that the mining operation's actions were “mischaracterized” and that the company had been caught unaware by retroactive permit changes.

Outdoor Workers Not Screened for Skin Cancer, Research Says

New research has determined that employees working outdoors in the construction, forestry, fishing or farming industries are least likely to receive skin exams, despite their increased risk of incurring skin cancer from regular exposure to the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.

In a study published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, dermatologist Dr. Robert Kirsner, professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami, and his colleagues concluded that when he and his colleagues examined the data for the 38,124 study participants, “only 15 percent of all U.S. workers reported ever receiving a skin examination during their lifetime, and only 8 percent of those who also had seen a health care provider in the past year reported that they had received a skin exam during that time.”

Criminal Probe Called for in Crandall Canyon Report

An investigation of the Crandall Canyon Mine disaster that left nine people dead in August 2007 prompted Rep. George, Miller D-Calif., to call for a criminal investigation against the mine's general manager. The probe's results indicate that Crandall Canyon Mine operators intentionally may have misled MSHA about mine conditions before the fatal collapse.

Miller, who is the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, asked the Department of Justice to investigate whether Crandall Canyon Mine's General Manager Laine Adair concealed facts about the mine from MSHA, whether alone or in conspiracy with other mine executives. If so, Adair's actions would be in violation of federal law.

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